A beginner's step-by-step guide to sabering Champagne with tips and tricks to making your first time a success. (Plus, a video of my first time sabering Champagne.)
The holiday season is just around the corner, which means drinking Champagne will be in season. As Champagne tends to be the popular festive drink of choice, I thought I’d let you in on a cool party trick to impress your family, friends, and business colleagues… and that’s sabering Champagne. This is one of the coolest, most elating things to do. However, most people are scared to do it - and rightfully so. I’m sure you’ve watched videos of all the ways to fail at sabering Champagne (if you haven't, click here) - where the whole bottle shatters, the cork hits someone in the face, and sometimes the person drops the bottle out of sheer fear. No doubt these videos make for likely-to-be viral content for Tiktok, but it's definitely a waste of great wine.
Sabering became a thing when Napoleon used his sword to open Champagne bottles after winning battles. Because of this tradition, many people assume that a traditional sabre knife (where the verb “saber” comes from) is needed to do this, but this is not the case. Sabering is easier than you think and can be done with everyday household items from a wine glass to a butter knife to a spoon. The tool doesn’t have to be sharp, just sturdy with a smooth edge that can slide against the bottle and help you apply pressure to the rim of the bottle. The process of sabering is easy with the help of the high amount of carbonation that creates a lot of stored pressure inside the bottle. That’s why you can’t saber general sparkling wines – because it doesn’t contain the carbonation levels that Champagne does.
My preferred saber tool is a wine glass because it’s commonly found in homes and restaurants, so you can do it whenever you please without having to carry an extra tool around. As well, once you saber the Champagne, you’ll have the glass in your hand ready to catch the Champagne spilling out of the bottle. To set you up for success, here is a list of items you’ll need and a step-by-step guide with some tips to make it a flawless show. (Don't forget to scroll to the end to find a video of me sabering Champagne with a wine glass.)
What You Need
1 Champagne Bottle –But having a 2nd bottle as a backup is good in case the 1st attempt doesn’t work out.
1 Wine Glass/Flute
1. Chill the Champagne in the fridge to around 3-5°C.
2. Take a quick look at the images below so you understand the anatomy of a Champagne bottle.
3. Take the foil off the bottle.
4. Spot the seam of the bottle - a line laterally along the bottle. This is the weakest part of the bottle, so it’ll be easier to saber along the line.
5. Untwist the wire cage (muselet) while keeping your thumb on the top of the wire cage and applying pressure to prevent the cork from popping off.
6. While keeping your thumb on the top of the wire cage and cork, shift the bottom of the muselet up above the rim (annulus) of the bottle and tighten it a bit.
7. Continue keeping your thumb on top of the wire cage and cork. Hold the bottle comfortably and firmly at 40-45 degrees, facing AWAY from you and any person or object that the cork can hit. Find the seam of the bottle again and move it so it’s facing up where you can see it.
8. You’ll have a couple of seconds to do this step. Have your wine glass in your hand holding the stem. Slide the foot of your wine glass along the seam of the bottle from the shoulder to the neck of the bottle. Practice this motion a couple of times to get comfortable. Once you're ready, take your thumb off the top of the wire cage and cork. Do the same motion with some pressure till the rim of the bottle breaks off.
9. Catch the Champagne spilling out with your wine glass and sip on your success. You’ve done it! Congratulations on sabering your Champagne with a wine glass. Wasn’t that easy?
If your first attempt was unsuccessful, try again with your second bottle. Don’t worry, you’ve got this!
To End Off..
Here is a video of my first time sabering Champagne with a wine glass. Cheers!