The word Quaich is taken from the Gaelic word "cuach" meaning "shallow cup". They were used for drinking spirits such as whisky and brandy. Quaichs were given as presents for weddings and christenings. The initials of the couple were often engraved on the handles or lugs. They were used both for a Cup of Welcome and also when offering a farewell drink.
The earliest Quaichs were originally made from staved wood bound with willow and decorated with silver panels, then later from horn or leather. Silversmiths soon began to make small Quaichs entirely out of silver. In the 19th century, wooden ones came back into fashion imitating earlier styles. The largest Quaichs were probably made for handing round at gatherings to drink a toast on a special occasion.
Quaichs were used all over Scotland, but have come to be associated with the highlands.
The phrase "squab asi" is Gaelic and is sometimes engraved in the bowls. This means, "Sweep it up" in English as an encouragement to drink up.
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