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How to Saber Champagne

How to Saber Champagne

Last updated on 12/9/2022

Sabering a bottle of champagne is a neat trick that can be very impressive to your guests. Opening a bottle of champagne with a saber is most typically done for special occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, and New Year's parties. With our easy step-by-step guide to sabering a bottle of champagne, you too can open a bottle with a blade at your momentous events. Here we'll teach you the history of sabering champagne, what type of blade you'll need, the physics behind the phenomenon, as well as how to saber champagne safely.

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Sabering Champagne Video

For a tutorial on how to properly saber champagne, check out our video below:

What Is a Champagne Sword?

Traditionally, sabers have been used to open champagne bottles in the practice of sabrage. These champagne swords have medium-length blades that are around 30 centimeters or 12 inches with dull edges. Many champagne sabers have decorations on the handle and a highly polished blade, which enhances the show.

A traditional champagne sword is not necessary for sabering a champagne bottle, though. For restaurants and clubs that only need to open bottles on rare occasions and holidays, you can use a simple chef knife.

What Do I Need to Saber Champagne?

To properly saber champagne, you'll need the following sabering supplies:

  • Ice Bucket
  • Foil Cutter
  • Champagne Sword or Chef Knife
  • Champagne Flutes

How to Saber a Champagne Bottle

Use the following steps to learn how to open a bottle of champagne with a saber:

  • bottle of champagne chilling in bucket1.

    Chill your champagne before you're ready to open it. You can either refrigerate the bottle until it's around 38-40 degrees Fahrenheit or chill it in a wine bucket for 10-15 minutes. The glass becomes more brittle when it's cold, which makes it easier to open.

  • removing champagne bottle wire fastener2.

    Remove the wire fastener or any foil covering the cork with a foil cutter.

  • The seam of a champagne bottle3.

    Find the seam on your bottle. The seam is the line that runs down the side of your bottle, and it's the weakest part of the glass.

  • champagne bottle at 45-degree angle4.

    Hold your bottle firmly at a 45-degree angle with the top of the bottle facing away from you. The cork may fly a fair length, so be sure to stand at a safe distance from your customers.

  • person sabering a bottle of champagne5.

    Hold the knife flat against the bottle with the blunt edge facing the lip. Run the blade along the seam, and then quickly and firmly push forward, up the seam toward the lip of the bottle. You are aiming for the spot where the seam meets the lip of the bottle.

  • opened bottle of champagne6.

    Pour flutes of champagne from your freshly sabered bottle for your guests to enjoy!

With a successful sabering, the cork breaks off and champagne spills out of the opening. Allow a little champagne to pour out to ensure any remaining glass shards are washed away, and then serve your guests.

What Is Sabrage?

Opening champagne bottles with a saber is also known as sabrage, and it became popular in nineteenth-century France under the reign of Napoleon. After winning a battle, Napoleon's armies would celebrate by drinking champagne, and they would open the bottles using the easiest method on hand. In many cases, the quickest way to celebrate was to open champagne with a sword carried by one of the soldiers. Since then, opening a bottle with a saber has become a tradition in fine dining settings for special occasions and celebrations.

How Does Sabering Champagne Work?

So, why can you cut off the top of a glass bottle using a dull knife? It has to do with the pressure. Champagne is very bubbly and full of carbon dioxide, which creates a lot of pressure inside the bottle and on the cork.

In medieval days, many bottles of champagne would explode in wine cellars due to the pressure. To combat this, winemakers would add wire cages over their corks to keep them secure. When sabering champagne, you're creating a small crack in the glass near the top of the bottle, which releases the pressure in a powerful burst that removes the top of the bottle completely.

Why Saber Champagne

Opening champagne with a saber is a great way to celebrate special occasions and New Year's parties. It's an impressive skill to have for foodservice operators at banquet halls, upscale restaurants, and classic venues.

Create a memorable evening by popping the champagne with a method rooted in history. Be sure to tell your guests to have their cameras ready to capture this special moment for social media marketing opportunities.

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