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How to Safely Saber a Bottle of Champagne

Written by MasterClass

Last updated: Nov 8, 2020 • 1 min read

Sabering a bottle of Champagne, also known as sabrage, is an impressive party trick with an interesting history. Sabering Champagne dates back to the reign of Napoleon Bonaparte, when the victorious Napoleonic armies would celebrate with bottles of Champagne—opening them with the most effective tool most of them had on hand, their sabers. Today, this tradition is still performed to open Champagne for certain events or special occasions, but it may take some practice.

Although the use of a blunt saber is required, the act requires breaking the neck of the bottle, which will result in broken glass shards. Exercise caution and handle with care when sabering Champagne.



How to Safely Saber a Bottle of Champagne in 10 Steps

Even though it looks violent to saber a bottle of Champagne, it’s actually very simple (and safe to pull off when done properly). If you want to saber Champagne safely and effectively, you will need a 12-inch, blunt-edge Champagne saber or a chef’s knife with some weight, and some protective glasses.

  1. Put on the protective glasses.
  2. Remove any wiring or wrappers from your cork.
  3. Plunge the neck of the bottle into an ice bucket filled with water until it’s very cold.
  4. When ready to saber, cradle the bottle at waist level with your less dominant hand at a forty-five-degree angle with the top of the bottle tilted upwards.
  5. Take the saber or chef’s knife and run it along the body of the bottle to get a feel for it. The sharp edge should be facing your body.
  6. Proper Champagne bottles should have a visible seam along both sides of the bottle. This is what you’re looking for: the landing strip for your saber, where the seam of the bottle meets the lip of the bottle.
  7. Point the bottle away from any person or valuable possession, and hold the knife flat against it.
  8. Slide the backside of the knife along the seam toward the cap of the bottle in one fluid motion, following through past the cap.
  9. Once you make a clean break, let the Champagne flow out a little to ensure any remaining shards of glass are washed out of the bottle’s neck.
  10. Grab your glasses and serve.
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