Saber a Champagne bottle
Wed Dec 15 2010
Despite his bottomless knowledge of the subject, Lush Wine & Spirits owner Mitch Einhorn’s approach to fine beverages never veers toward pretension, even when it comes to the art of sabering a Champagne bottle. “There’s no inherent value in sabering; it’s all about fun,” he says, citing the practice’s origins in Napolean’s army, when the victorious cavalry would break open the bottles while on horseback. Einhorn offers seven easy steps for taking a crack at it.
1. Practice with a nice bottle of sparkling wine, such as Pierre Delize Blanc de Blancs ($10 at Lush, locations citywide, lushwineandspirits.com).
2. Chill the bottle thoroughly. The glass will be more brittle and easier to hack off. Wipe off any moisture and remove the foil and cage around the top.
3. Find the bottle’s seam. “There’s an inherent weak spot where the seam running the length of the bottle meets the lip,” Einhorn says. That weak spot is where you’re going to whack the bottle with the blunt edge of a chef’s knife.
4. Hold the bottle at about a 20- to 40-degree angle away from you, with spectators standing behind you.
5. Take a few practice swings. “Warm up, figure out where you’re going with [the knife]—like golf, it requires good follow-through,” Einhorn says.
6. Give it a good, swift whack. “Because of the pressure inside, the glass and cork should shoot away from you.”
7. And finally: “Don’t let it be pretentious,” Einhorn says. “It’s just about being goofy and having fun with Champagne.”
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