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Crack a Bottle

i.e. drink one. The allusion is to the mischievous pranks of the drunken frolics of times gone by, when the bottles and glasses were broken during the bout. Miss Oldbuck says, in reference to the same custom, “We never were glass-breakers in this house, Mr. Lovel” (Antiquary); meaning they were not bottle-crackers, or given to drunken orgies. (See Crush.)

Dear Tom, this brown jug that now foams with mild ale,
From which I now drink to sweet Nan of the Vale,
Was once Toby Filpot's, a thirsty old soul
As e'er cracked a bottle, or fathomed a bowl.

O'Keefe: Poor Soldier.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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