How to Open a Bottle of Champagne & Pour
The right way to pop the cork and pour champagne
Since this task usually falls to the man of the house, here are some tips to protect your bubbles and your eyesight. While the loud popping of a cork is festive, it often leads to bubbly on the floor instead of your glass. Not a good thing when you’re drinking Dom.
Instead of going for the pop, coax the cork out with a whisper—it’s sexier and you’ll save more of the good stuff for sipping. To do this, first gather the gear.
You’ll need: A linen napkin, a serviette, or a clean dishtowel to place between your palm and the cork; the appropriate number of glasses, polished of course, and ready for instant pouring.
Next, follow these steps:
Hold It! It’s important to be completely comfortable with the bottle in your hands. You should grip the bottle in your weakest hand at the base, placing you stronger hand on top of that cork to fight the pressure in the bottle.
Peel Away: Remove the foil from the wire cage that wraps the cork; underneath, you’ll see a wire cage and a little round tab. Holding down the cork with a cloth napkin or a kitchen towel, bend the tab down and unwind it to loosen and remove the wire cage. Do this carefully and with a cloth napkin, as once you loosen the cage, the cork can go at any moment.
Twist: Tilt the bottle away from you (and everyone else!) at a 45-degree angle. With the cloth still over the top of the bottle, grasp the cork with one hand and gently twist the bottle—not the cork—with the other. Let the pressure in the bottle gently force out the cork, and let your cloth catch the cork and any small sprays of foam. Remember—twist the bottle, not the cork, as twisting the cork can cause it to tear and break.
Hiss or Pop?: The amount of pressure you keep on the cork will determine whether you create an elegant hiss or a head-turning pop. For a seductive hiss, keep more pressure on the cork as you let it slowly make its way out.
How to Pour Champagne: We’ve all underestimated the bubbles in bubbly and ended up with a volcanic eruption from our Champagne flutes. If you want to drink this stuff (as opposed to wear it), pour your sparkler in two steps. Start with a 1-ounce pour (called “priming the glass”). Let the bubbles settle, then finish off pouring until the glass is about two-thirds full. Like the head of a beer, sparkling wines have what’s called a “mousse," that frothy topping that may continue to rise after it’s been poured.