No party will ever be complete without that iconic opening of a bottle of Champagne. But although the presence of champagne during special events is more than enough to imply an upcoming celebration, you can take the celebration to a higher level by mastering the art of sabrage.
The Origin of the Art of Sabrage
The art of sabering Champagne doesn’t really have a single origin story. Instead, it has a collection of stories that focus on Napoleon and his army of soldiers riding on horseback. Maybe it was Napoleon’s Hussars or Napoleon himself who started it all.
The villagers were probably gathered together, offering congratulatory bottles to the soldiers who were parading out of town triumphantly. Maybe the soldiers swiped open their bottles while mourning the loss of their fellow countrymen or planning their tactical advancement to the end of the war.
For fear of being forgotten, even some powerful Champagne houses are laying claim to be the to do the very first sabering in the world.
There were also origin stories that involved the march to Russia of Charles-Henri Heidsieck with the order book in hand, as well as the courtship by and entertaining of soldiers of Veuve Clicquot.
But no matter which of these many stories you choose to believe, there is no denying that the art of sabrage is an impressive form of art. Once done correctly, it is even an efficient method that releases the real magic stored inside that bottle.
How to Get Started
It is important that you prepare well in advance to saber a Champagne bottle effectively. Remember to be careful. In case you don’t know, approximately 90 pounds of pressure per square inch gets expelled abruptly from a glass bottle, which results in a cork that can fly at 55 miles per hour!
With such numbers, things can always go wrong so take extra care and ensure that you point the bottle away from yourself and other people.
A cold bottle is a real secret to a successful Champagne sabrage. So, before you wow your guests, place the bottle in an ice bucket neck-down. Although 10 minutes is enough, anything longer is better.
Steps in the Art of Sabrage
Follow these steps to pull off the art of sabrage:
- Choose your tool for sabrage. You can find sabers specifically meant to saber Champagne bottlers. However, you can also use a butter knife, a chef’s knife, or a regular spoon.
- Take out the bottle of Champagne from the ice bucket. Pat it dry quickly to get rid of excess water.
- Remove the cage and foil from the bottle. Keep your thumb on the cork to avoid rogue misfires.
- Find the seam of the Champagne bottle. Position it upwards so you can slide the saber along it.
- Place your non-dominant hand’s thumb in the bottle’s punt. Rest the Champagne bottle in your palm with your fingers supporting it.
- Slide the saber along the bottle’s seam in a single fluid motion at a 45-degree angle. Avoid stopping at the contact point and follow through past the bottle’s lip.
Master the art of sabrage and rejoice with cheers!
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