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How to Open Champagne: A Guide for Poppin’ Bottles

Champagne_HERO
It’s time to celebrate. You grab the bubbly and are about to get the party started, but you realize, “I don’t know how to open champagne!” Read our guide and this will be a problem of the past.

Introduction

Whether it’s New Year’s Eve, a wedding, brunch Bellinis, or just a Tuesday, it’s always a good time to pop open a bottle of bubbly. And it’s a handy skill to not only know how to open a champagne bottle, both safely and with style, but also how to store champagne, how to serve it, and the best types of champagne glasses to use. Our tips will help ensure the next time you’re having a party or celebration, you’ll be able to pop champagne bottles like a pro.

How to Open a Bottle of Champagne

Champagne_HERO

(Specifically, how to open a bottle of champagne without sending the cork flying)

When opening a bottle of champagne it’s important to know how to open it properly and safely. From how to hold the bottle, to the correct way to remove the cork; these easy steps will help keep the champagne (safely) flowing. 

We’ll show you our three favorite ways to open a bottle of champagne, but no matter which method you use, there are a few simple but important instructions you’ll always follow:

  1. Be sure the bottle is chilled to 42-48°F (it’ll taste better that way)
  2. Make sure the bottle is dry so you have a good grip
  3. Point the cork end of the bottle away from yourself and others

Method 1: Traditional

No fuss, no muss, just that trademark satisfying “pop!” followed by flowing bubbly. The traditional way to open a bottle of champagne doesn’t require any equipment but your own two hands. Here’s how to pop the cork on a bottle of champagne:

  1. Remove the foil wrapping and untwist the wire cage while keeping your thumb firmly over the cork
  2. Drape a towel over the top of the bottle and place your palm over the cork
  3. Holding the bottle at a 45-degree angle, twist the bottom of the bottle while pulling downward (DO NOT twist the cork)
  4. Keep twisting until you hear the “pop” of the cork
  5. Pour and enjoy!

Method 2: Saber

Any time you open a bottle of champagne, it feels like a special occasion, but the saber method—also called “sabrage”—packs that extra sense of ceremony. But first things first: yes, we’re talking about opening a bottle of champagne by cutting it with a sword. Stay with us.

Even though you look super impressive doing it, opening a bottle of champagne with a saber is just as easy as the traditional method. And it’s not magic—just physics! It might take several tries to get the hang of it the first time, but once you have a feel for it you’ll always have this party trick in your back pocket. 

Now speaking of swords, a little backstory: this technique dates back to the time of the French Revolution, when Napoleon’s army celebrated its victories throughout Europe with bottles of bubbly. Napoleon’s brigade were all issued sabers, and after using the sharp sides of the blades to win on the battlefield, they’d use the blunt sides to pop bottles. But today, you can just order a dedicated champagne saber online. Far easier.

Just like the traditional method, you angle the top of the bottle away from you (and anyone else in the room). You quickly slide the blunt side of the blade away from your body, along the bottle, where the force of the blade hitting the lip of the bottle breaks the glass. The idea is one long, smooth, strong motion, so remember to follow through. The saber makes a clean cut, so the neck of the bottle is ready to pour. And when you pick up the cork (because you don’t want to leave sharp glass just lying around) you’ll see it’s still intact in the mouth of the bottle. Champagne magic physics!

If you’ve never tried this method before, don’t worry if it takes a few tries; the neck of the bottle will either break completely off in a clean cut, or it won’t break at all. So you won’t have little pieces of glass popping off, or a partially opened bottle. Take all the tries you need until you get the hang of it. 

A champagne saber also makes a great gift for any newly engaged friends. We like to pair it with a bottle of the good stuff so the happy couple can toast to their future.

Method 3: Kitchen Knife

You didn’t think we’d forget to include a kitchen hack, did you? While sabrage started with sabers, and they’re easy to find online or in stores, you can absolutely use the blunt side of a regular old kitchen knife to achieve the same results.

Since the idea is to recreate the saber method, the longer the blade, the better. A sturdy chef’s knife will work, but if you have a long-blade bread knife, we’ve found that the extra bit of length makes it even better for generating the force to break off the very top of the bottle. 

Just like with the saber, you’ll angle the bottle away from you before quickly and strongly sliding the blunt side of the blade along the bottle toward the cork. When the blade hits the lip of the bottle, it will break off the cork and bottle mouth in one piece, just like with the saber.

How to Serve Champagne

Now it’s time to pour! This is the best part.

Best Types of Champagne Glasses to Drink From

Champagne_Glasses

Once you’ve opened the bottle of champagne (and no one got hurt in the process), it’s time to start pouring. Now, you may think you can just grab any old champagne glass. Whether it’s a flute, coupe, or tulip style of glass, there are actually pros and cons to the different types of champagne glasses depending on what you’re drinking. Here’s why it actually matters how you drink your bubbly.

Champagne_filled-glasses

Flute Glass (Left)
Not only does the flute glass look sleek and sexy, the tall, narrow bowl is actually a smart design. By reducing the surface area through which bubbles can escape, the narrow bowl helps retain some of the carbonation. This is key because not only does it showcase the pretty bubbles as they travel upward, but it regulates the amount of oxygen mixing with the champagne, and all those little bubbles are delivering the champagne’s aroma straight to the nose and ensuring an effervescent mouthfeel. Perfect for serving dry champagnes. 

Coupe Glass (Center)
The coupe glass is the most classic and iconic of all the champagne glasses. This vintage beauty with its shallow, wide, open bowl, produces a softer and fruiter tasting champagne from allowing more of the bubbles to quickly disperse. It’s the perfect glass for sweeter, sparkling wines. 

Tulip Glass (Right)
The tulip glass is the curvier cousin to the flute, with a similar build but a wider body and mouth. It provides some of the same benefits as the flute glass (allowing more of the aroma to be released without losing much of he carbonation), but the tulip shape makes it ideal for fruitier, more aromatic sparkling wines.

How to Store Leftover Champagne

The party’s done, the guests have gone home, and you find that you didn’t quite finish that last bottle. But, nobody wants to throw away perfectly good champagne! You can actually keep an opened bottle of champagne, it’s just a matter of how you do it. 

An opened bottle will last around 1-3 days in the fridge (but it’s probably best to finish it within the first day or so, as the carbonation will start to disappear after a while). There are a lot of theories and methods, but these are our tried-and-true tips for storing a bottle of champagne so that it stays fresh:

  1. Store the bottle in the fridge. It’s important to keep it cold!
  2. Use a hermetic (airtight) stopper cork to re-cork the bottle
  3. If you don’t have a stopper, place the long end of a metal spoon into the bottle
  4. Or, cover the top of the bottle with plastic wrap

Now that you’ve mastered the art of opening a bottle of champagne, pop those bottles at your next celebration in style!

Still thirsty? From cocktails to mocktails, we’ve got even more ideas for drink recipes.


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