"Should old acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind . . ." I can already hear the words to that wonderful tune -- words written long ago in 1788 by a Scotsman named Robert Burns. But is it really healthy for us to forget about old times? Yes. We are on the verge of a New Year -- one that should bring hope and change -- but why forget when can take a moment to reflect and think about all those enduring friendships that we have made and those with whom we have lost contact. Then raise your glass and make a toast.
Toasting has been performed for centuries, with the tradition going back to the days of the Roman Empire. Originally, the host would take the first drink of wine so that his guests knew that it wasn't spiked with poison, which was a method commonly used to take out an enemy in that time. Over the years, the "toast" evolved into a sign of love and friendship.
We call it a toast today because at social gatherings, the host would place a piece of burnt toast in the container that was used to pass wine in order offset some of the wines acidity. After all of the guests took a drink, the host would eat the burnt toast and hence the name used today.
If you are looking for a wine to ring in the new year, try the Mumm Napa Valley Brut Prestige that is non-vintage retails for about $16. It is a very nice, crisp sparkling wine that has hints of apple, followed by citrus flavors.
Another good sparkling wine is the Gloria Ferrer Brut from Sonoma County that also re
tails in the same price range. The Gloria Ferrer has bold flavors of lemon and ripe apple. If you're willing to spend a few dollars more, try the Domaine Chandon Brut Classic. This dry sparkling wine has pear and apple flavors, with a hint of almond.
So this year, while the horns are being blown and confetti is scattered throughout the room as the clock strikes midnight, raise your glass and make a toast to all those long lost friends as you sing that last verse: "And we'll take a right good-will draught, for auld lang syne."
Jim Rawe, a family attorney in Bradenton, is an avid collector of fine wines. His column appears weekly. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.