The practice of drinking to the health of guests, dignitaries, gods and goddesses dates from antiquity.
During the Middle Ages in the great houses the keeper of the wine was referred to and became known as the ‘Master of the Toast’.
During the reign of King Charles II the ‘Master of the Toast’ would toast small pieces of bread before a fire, dip them into herbs and spices before stirring them into a bowl of wine to enhance its flavour.
The red coat or 'Hunting Pink' originated in 1894 when noted Toastmaster William Knight Smith, concerned at being mistaken for a butler, was persuaded by his wife to wear a coat in military red. The Prince of Wales (later Edward the Seventh) approved of the colour, which from that day forward has been recognised as the mark of the modern Toastmaster.