I can’t remember how this ended up on my list. I had always been fascinated with how this was done. Simon, a guy I have known for years has started up a bar tending service. http://www.theoccasionalbartender.co.uk/ Whilst looking on his twitter account, I saw a video showing him sabering a champagne cork and contacted him to say I need to be able to do this.
Simon was hosting a cocktails at the Tap (our local hostelry) and was the perfect opportunity to do this. Btw the cocktails were pretty awesome. Simon is such a larger than life character (this is good thing if you’re reading Simon) you can’t help but be enthused when listening to him talking so passionately.
I was wondering how did sabering champagne become a thing?
The technique became popular in France when the army of Napoleon visited many of the aristocratic domains. It was just after the French Revolution and the saber was the weapon of choice of Napoleon’s light cavalry. Napoleon’s victories across all Europe gave them plenty of reason to celebrate. During these parties the cavalry would open the champagne with their sabers. Napoleon, known to have said, “Champagne! In victory one deserves it; in defeat one needs it.”
Sabrage is a technique for opening a champagne bottle with a saber, used for ceremonial occasions. The wielder slides the saber along the body of the bottle to break the top of the neck away, leaving the neck of the bottle open and ready to pour. The force of the blunt side of the blade hitting the lip breaks the glass to separate the collar from the neck of the bottle, not the sharpness of the blade. The cork and collar remain together after separating from the neck.
After instruction from Simon, hold the bottle at an angle and slide the sabre up the bottle in a concise firm action. Ok, I think I have this. Friends had gathered round, no pressure. 1,2,3 let’s do this. A concise hit and the cork flew off with little champagne wasted. Having a bit of champagne flow out cleans any shards of glass away from the bottle neck.
It was such a fun thing to be able to do. I will definitely be buying a suitable sabre so I can do this at home. Showing off to guests with my new skill. Champagne poured and Simon had pimped this up with some cognac and bitters, a very lovely if not lethal combination.