I distinctly remember the first time I stumbled across Russian House. Still new to Austin, I was walking around downtown when I spotted the familiar khokhloma pattern on the side of a building. Above the name Russian House on the outside side, smaller letters read, “Na Zdorovye.” “Noooo,” I thought to myself, “No, no, no, no, noooo…Et tu, Brute?”
I was surprised to find a Russian restaurant in downtown Austin, but even more surprised to find a Russian restaurant using the term Na Zdorovye. You see, “na zdorovye” is what foreigners believe Russians say as “cheers.” But no native Russian has ever said that while drinking.
The misconception probably finds its roots in the fact that “na zdorovye” is indeed used in some eastern European countries. But if you want to drink like a real Russian, learning one phrase and saying it over and over is not enough, my friends. Here’s what you need to do. [Read more…]