How to Sabre a bottle of Champagne: Mastering the Art of SabrageMarch 31, 2023
Pop. Clink. Fizz. There is no other universal sound that inspires joy than celebrating with a bottle of Champagne or Sparkling Wine. We are here to teach you, safely, how to achieve that while getting that perfect photo of you being a badass! All you’ll need is a bottle of bubbles and a sturdy, heavy kitchen knife or you can purchase an inexpensive saber on Amazon.
Did You Know?
Sabering dates back to the 17th century and is said to have all begun with Napoleon as he used his sword to open wine when traveling through Champagne during the French Revolution. Since then, it has been demonstrated during major celebrations from royal weddings to presidential inaugurations.
How To (safely) Sabre a Bottle of Champagne or Sparkling Wine:
You’ll want to start with a bottle of Champagne or French Sparkling Wine. The French bottles are thicker and have been created to withstand more pressure from carbonation that happens in the bottle during the 2nd fermentation.
The wine should be very cold! This step is important to ensure that the bottle does not shatter. It is recommended to chill the wine overnight and place the neck of the champagne bottle in an ice bath for 10+ minutes to get it as cold as possible.
You will want to dry off the bottle to make sure there isn’t any condensation.
Remove the foil from all around the neck and top of the bottle. Carefully remove the wire cage or the muselet around the cork, always keeping pressure on the cork so it doesn’t pop off. We recommend your thumb or hand over the cork. Always point the cork away from people and avoid the face and eye area especially.
Rub your finger along the bottle and you will feel a small vertical seam which will feel like a piece of thread to the touch of the finger. This slight imperfection in the glass is where the flat glass is formed and the two sides married together to form the bottle, and hence the seam runs vertically along the bottle from the base of the punt to the top of the neck. This creates a slight weakness in the bottle so to speak, and it is here that you should run the knife smoothly from the base and hit just under the lip at the top of the neck… This is the magic spot.
Angle the bottle at a 45-degree angle and be sure not to point the bottle at anyone (especially the person holding the camera for that perfect shot!)
You are going to want to gently slide your kitchen knife along the seam to get a feel for the motion, with the dull side of the knife (or the back of the blade) toward the neck. Once you (and your camera-person) are ready, use one swift stroke towards the neck and POP the top should fly off.
Anatomy of a Champagne Bottle
Safety Do’s and Don’ts
Do always use chilled Champagne or Sparkling Red Wine
Don’t use still wines (there is no pressure from carbonation and therefor the act can shatter the bottle)
Do saber in a safe environment, outdoors and away from people, cars, etc.
Don’t ever put your mouth to a sabered bottle of wine! The glass will be cut and can do some serious damage.
Do remember to find and throw away the cork and lip of the bottle. Again, the glass will be sharp so handle with care!
If you’d like to see a successful sabre check out this video that Pottery Barn made.
- Both Presidents John F Kennedy Jr and Barack Obama had Champagne sabred at their Inaugurations.
- Prince Harry & Meghan Markle sabred Champagne at their royal wedding
- The Sabrage World Record is held by Mirko Rainer with 68 bottles having been opened in 60 seconds.
- The most Champagne sabred simultaneously was 623 bottles at the Sciabolata del Santero in Santo Stefano Belbo in Italy in 2016