01 Jul The Art of Sabrage
Chances are, you’ve been at a party and experienced the oohs and ahhs, the gasp of anticipation, the cheers of success as someone bravely runs a sword over a bottle of Champagne and expels the cork to heroically fill Champagne coupes with beautiful bubbles! Well, today is the day that we make you the hero of your next party. We’ve laid out everything you need to know about sabering Champagne.
Competition for the Origin Story
There is no single origin story for sabering Champagne – rather a collection of stories centered around Napoleon and his army of horseback soldiers. Perhaps it was Napoleon himself or maybe it was his Hussars. Villagers might have been lobbing congratulatory bottles up to soldiers as they paraded victoriously out of town, or maybe soldiers swiped open bottles as they mourned the loss of fellow countrymen and tactical advancement toward the end of the war. Lest powerful Champagne houses be forgotten, they too lay claim to the first sabering. There are origin stories involving Charles-Henri Heidsieck’s march to Russia with order book in-hand and Veuve Clicquot’s entertaining of, and courtship by, soldiers. Despite which story you chose to believe, sabering a bottle of Champagne is impressive, and if done correctly, an efficient way to release the true magic that lies within the bottle.
Where to Start
Proper preparation is essential in order to effectively saber a bottle of Champagne. The adage “by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” has never rung more true. First and foremost, we must implore you to be careful. Up to 90 pounds of pressure per square inch is abruptly expelled from a glass bottle, resulting in corks flying at up to 55 miles per hour. This can go wrong, so please be careful and always keep the bottle pointing away from yourself and others. With that said, the essential key to successful Champagne sabrage is a cold bottle. Well before you want to wow your guests, put your bottle, neck down, in an ice bucket. 10 minutes will suffice, but the longer the better.
Step by Step Instructions
- Identify your instrument of sabrage. There are sabers made specifically for sabering Champagne bottles, but you can also use a chef’s knife, a butter knife, or even a spoon. Any blunt object with enough force will do the job. We’ve even seen metal credit cards before.
- Make sure your bottle is properly chilled before you saber. THIS IS CRITICAL. Warm bottles will not pop well and you may have the whole bottle break.
- Remove your Champagne bottle from the ice bucket and quickly pat it dry to remove any excess water.
- Remove the foil and cage from the bottle, keeping your thumb on the cork to prevent any rogue misfires.
- Locate the seam of the bottle. Position the seam upwards so that you can slide the saber along the seam.
- Place the thumb of your non-dominant hand in the punt of the bottle. Rest the bottle in your palm, supported by your fingers.
- In one fluid motion, quickly slide the saber along the seam of the bottle at a 45-degree angle. Like a golf swing, do not stop at the point of contact, instead follow through past the lip of the bottle.
- Catch the escaping Champagne with a nearby flute or coupe.
- Rejoice with cheers at a successful sabrage!
- We kindly ask you to when possible, locate the dislodged cork, recycle it properly, and look around for any broken glass.
What to Avoid
Not every sabrage is successful. Like anything, practice makes perfect. Remember, keep your thumb on the cork and never point a bottle of Champagne at yourself or toward others. Otherwise, this could be you.
Be Your Own Hero
Any of our three Champagnes would be great choices for your next sabrage! Choose from our beautiful, low-dosage Multi-Vintage Brut, Brut Rosé, or 2012 Brut. Enjoy $10 shipping on all purchases over $150 through July 10th. Happy sabering!