How To Saber A Champagne Bottle
The easy way to pull off the ultimate party trick
Dating back to the Napoleonic-era in France, sabering Champagne (sabrage if you will) has been widely established as the coolest way to open a bottle of Champagne. But until recently, we really didn’t know how to do it. We thought it was some sort of highly skilled art. We thought we could lose a limb! Both are false. Following is a quick four step guide to sabering a Champagne bottle, a party trick that's quite a bit more elegant than snapping a beer bottle cap across the room.
To look at the individual steps close up, click on each image. But first, watch this video featuring Food Republic contributing editor Matt Rodbard to see how it's done in real-time:
There she stands. A bottle of Moët & Chandon Imperial. A fine bottle. As hard as it is to strip this baby down of its pretty foil, this is an essential step for sabering
Champagne bottles are made of two pieces of glass. You can spot the seam, running from top to bottom, separating the two pieces. This seam will serve as your guide.
There is no need to get picky over the “saber” – or in most cases a knife. It doesn’t even have to be sharp, as you must use the dull end of the knife when sabering. You remember that seam you spotted in the previous step? Leading with the dull end of the knife, slowly follow the path of the seam, connecting with the neck. Practice a few times, like a golf swing before teeing off.
It's time for the big show. Make sure you are holding the bottle at a 45-degree angle, so as not to spill any precious cargo on the floor. The motion should be fluid and mildly forceful. Start at the bottom and slide the knife up the neck and…pop! Make sure there are glasses to capture the spillage — especially if you're using a Champagne as fine as Moët & Chandon Imperial. And you might be wondering about glass. As in, do the shards fall into the bottle? Answer: No. The pressure forces the cork outward. The break is clean and there should be no glass. Good luck!