The second time, I had a crowd and without my liquid courage I completely stuffed it up and couldn’t cut the top off. It was highly embarrassing in front of the crowd who I had told 5 minutes prior that I was a natural at Champagne sabrage!
So after the second attempt I thought I had better do some more practice and really work on my technique. Mr. Spittoon along with the sabre had given me a case of the cheapest Champagne he could find at Dan Murphy’s to practice on, I definitely didn’t want to stuff up opening a bottle of Cristal or Krug. Seeing that glorious liquid all over the patio would be a darn shame. So between my practice bottles, the book Mr. Spittoon had also given me and YouTube I knuckled down and worked on getting to ‘pro’ status.
After a year or so of practice I thought it would be great to share my 10 top tips to opening a bottle of Champagne with a sabre.
- The Champagne needs to be properly chilled to around the 6 degrees celsius mark
- Don’t shake it up, unless you want a big mess and to lose half of the contents of the bottle
- Before sabering, strip all the foil off the neck of the bottle so the blade doesn’t get caught on the way up the bottle neck
- Some people keep the wire cage on to reduce the risk of the cork popping out on its own, however I prefer to remove the wire cage and keep my thumb over the cork until I’m ready to go
- Champagne bottles are made from 2 pieces of glass so you’ll find 2 seams running the length of the bottle on either side. Hitting the crease at the top of the bottle is where you want to strike for a nice clean-cut
- Point the bottle away from any people/animals, you’ll need a decent open space to do it. I always go into the backyard where I have at least 5-metres of free space
- Holding the bottle at about a 45-degree angle is ideal
- Do a few slow test runs up the length of the bottle so you can make sure you’re going to hit the bottle at the sweet spot at the lip of the crease
- You don’t need to use much force at all, keep your movement smooth and controlled. If you are holding the bottle at the correct angle and hitting that sweet spot, the top will pop off without hesitation
- When the top comes off, it’s best to let a little bit of the liquid splash out to make sure no tiny little shards off glass have entered the bottle
- Be careful if you’re not using French Champagne, some of the sparkling wines use different glass which can shatter a lot easier. I’ve had a few very messy sabrage moments with sparkling wines!
Hopefully that helps you become a sabre master to show off to your mates at your next backyard party!