In my considerable experience (all in the name
of research!), I have found that it is a rare occasion when a Russian will take
a drink in a social setting without first raising his or her glass to make a
toast. And during my early visits
to the former Soviet Union, I would clink glasses and utter the famous phrase that
is still ubiquitous in American films featuring Russians: ‘Na zda-ró-vye!’
(Hа здоровье!). But in
fact, ‘Na zda-ró-vye’ is not precisely
correct. Close, but no cigarski.
‘Здоровье’ [zda-ró-vye] means health. But it should be preceded by ‘за’ [za], which means ‘to’ rather than ‘на’ [na], which means ‘on’. So instead say ‘Za zda-ró-vye!’ (За здоровье!).
Of course, Russians tend to skip the word 'to' altogether. So if you want to be authentic use any of the following:
Ваше здоровье! - [vashee zda-ró-vye] – the formal form of ‘Your health!’ which is appropriate for business settings.
Твоё здоровье! - [tva-jó zda-ró-vye] – the informal form of ‘Your health!’ which is appropriate with friends and family.
"Будем здоровы!" [bóo-deem zda-ró-vye"], which means "Our health!"