A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from September 10, 2019
“Here’s mud in your eye” (toast)

"Here’s mud in your eye” is a toast that has been cited in print since at least 1911. Origin of the toast is unknown.

The book Dictionary of Word Origins (1997) by Jordan Almond explains:

“The expression is not a toast to another; it is a toast to yourself—for it means, ‘I hope I beat you.’ The allusion is to a horse race. If the track is at all muddy the rider of the losing horse is very likely to get mud in his eye from the horse that is winning.”


(Oxford English Dictionary)
slang. (here’s) mud in your eye: ‘Here’s to you!’ ‘Good health!’ ‘Cheers!’ Used as an informal salutation before drinking. Also here’s mud.
1927 H. V. Morton In Search of Eng. iii. 60 ‘Here’s mud in your eye!’ said one of the modern pilgrims, tossing down his martini.
1949 P. G. Wodehouse Mating Season xxiii. 198 ‘Skin off your nose, Jeeves.’ ‘Mud in your eye, sir, if I may use the expression.’

18 August 1911. The Morning Oregonian (Portland, OR), pg. 14, col. 3:
MAN DRINKS CARBOLIC
“HERE’S MUD IN YOUR EYE,” HIS LAST WORDS.
(...)
With the salutation, “Here’s mud in your eye,” G. E> Mitchell drank two ounces of carbolic acid ...

18 August 1911, The Star (Seattle, WA), “Toasts Druggist in Poison, Dies,” pg. 7, cols. 3-4:
PORTLAND, Or., Aug. 18.—“Here’s mud in your eye,” toasted G. E. Mitchell, formerly forman of the Mount Scott cemetery, as he stood before a counter in a drug store last night, holding a bottle of carbolic acid.

15 January 1912, Shreveport (LA) Times, pg. 2, col. 4:
“Here is mud in your eye,” is the logical toast now.

10 May 1921, Lawrence (KS) Daily Journal-World, pg. 1, col. 7:
“Here’s mud in your eye” was the favorite toast of the workers while sipping coffee.

Google Books
Dictionary of Word Origins:
A History of the Words, Expressions, and Clichés We Use

By Jordan Almond
Secaucus, NJ: Carol Pub. Group
1997, ©1985
Pg. 169:
How did “here’s mud in your eye” come to be accepted as a toast?
The expression is not a toast to another; it is a toast to yourself—for it means, “I hope I beat you.” The allusion is to a horse race. If the track is at all muddy the rider of the losing horse is very likely to get mud in his eye from the horse that is winning.

A Way with Words—Discussion Forum
Here’s mud in your eye
Jvansant
2011/03/31 7:52am
I’m a Pastor preaching this Sunday on a text from the 9th chapter of John’s gospel on the healing of a man born blind. To heal the man, Jesus makes mud by mixing spit with saliva and putting it on the man’s eye (a popular ancient remedy for vision problems), then telling him to go wash it off. I’m looking for the origin of the toast, “Here’s mud in your eye.” I’m suspicious of internet claims that it comes from this gospel passage. If it was some typical Irish-type toast that uses a biblical reference, the meaning would seem to be soemthing like, “Here’s hoping your vision is restored.” Doesn’t really seem right.

Other suggestions I’ve found seem plauysib le but certainly not authoritative, such as: It’s a sort of “bragging toast” of the winner of a horse race–since all riders but the winner wind up with mud in their face. Another reasonabel suggestion: toast used by American and British soldiers on leave from the trenches in WWI.

Twitter
Tara Greene
@6thsensemoment
Replying to @annabelgat_
Did someone toast you with “Here’s mud in your eye?”
2:30 AM · Jul 18, 2019·Twitter Web Client

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Tuesday, September 10, 2019 • Permalink