While it can be exciting to just blast the cork out of a bottle of champagne in a celebratory setting, you should also learn how to open a champagne bottle properly.
Not only will you waste less of the precious bubbly within the bottle while opening champagne, but opening a champagne bottle the right way is a sign of sophistication and elegance. Opening a champagne bottle can be tricky, so we offer this definitive guide.
If you hope to learn how to open champagne safely and properly, you have come to the right place!
How to Open a Bottle of Champagne
To open a bottle of champagne the right way, simply follow these steps:
1. Chill the Champagne
Before you open the bottle, it is essential to ensure it is chilled to the appropriate temperature. Champagne should be served at roughly 45° F.
Not only will this make the beverage more refreshing and enjoyable, but a warm bottle of champagne will also not open properly as the pressure inside will force the champagne cork and coveted bubbly out too quickly.
If you want to enjoy the champagne and ensure that you do not end up spraying it around the room, make sure it is chilled before you open it!
2. Use a Wine Key or Small Blade to Remove the Foil
While some of the less expensive champagne brands have a small tab on the foil for easy removal of the foil, it is always better to use a wine key or a similarly small and sharp blade.
This will ensure a clean and even cut, rather than jagged and uneven foil remains. Remember, the right way to open a bottle of champagne is all about presentation. Cut the foil below the bottle’s larger lip, exposing the cork and the cage.
Be careful, especially if the chilled bottle is wet from being on ice!
3. Use a Clean Napkin or Towel and Remove the Cage
Fold your towel or napkin lengthwise and place it over the cage and cork. This will prevent the cork from shooting across the room and contain any sort of mess from accidental spills.
Once you have positioned your towel, angle the bottle at 45 degrees. You can untwist the cork cage using the small “O-shaped” tab. It should take six twists to loosen the cage from the cork.
4. Loosen and Remove the Cork
Now that the cage has been loosened, you can begin to extract the champagne cork. The improper way to open champagne is to pull on the cork. Instead, you should keep pressure on the covered cork and twist the bottle rather than the cork.
Twisting the cork risks breaking it, which can ruin the entire experience. After twisting the bottle, you should notice that the cork loosens and can even spin freely. At this point, you can begin to slowly extract it from the bottle while still keeping it covered with your napkin or towel.
You will notice that the cork is starting to push forward on its own. At this point, keep light downward pressure on the cork, preventing it from releasing too quickly. The slower and more controlled this release is, the quieter it will be. You should aim for a quiet and controlled release of pressure from the bottle, so it should sound more like a calm hiss and blip sound rather than a loud and violent pop.
5. Prepare to Serve the Champagne
Now that the cork has been removed from the bottle, you can discard it and give the lip of the bottle a quick wipe with your towel or napkin.
Pour the champagne by tilting your glass and the bottle together rather than pouring it into a vertical glass. While it may sound surprising, white wine glasses work better for champagne than flute glasses, as they help you appreciate the aroma of the champagne.
With that said, flute glasses certainly have their place in more celebratory settings.
Congratulations, you have opened a bottle of champagne the proper way!
How to Open a Bottle of Champagne Safely
While opening a bottle by following the step-by-step process outlined above is considered the safest method, it is still essential to recognize the dangers of champagne.
The pressure within a champagne bottle is tremendous. While this pressure gives the beverage its iconic bubbles, it can also turn the cork into a dangerous projectile if it is not removed responsibly.
Always make sure that you are controlling the cork and never point the bottle toward other people while you are opening it. You should also ensure that the bottle’s cork end is not facing you. Accidents can still happen even if you are placing a napkin-covered hand over the cork. By facing the bottle away from yourself and others, you significantly reduce the chances that someone could become injured.
You must also be careful while removing the foil, especially if using a sharp blade. The combination of a sharp knife and a pressurized cork can be dangerous. Face the blade away from yourself. Rotate the bottle around the blade rather than the blade around the bottle.
As mentioned above, you should also chill the bottle before opening it, as a warm champagne bottle tends to have a more violent release when it is opened.
What Is a Champagne Saber or Champagne Sabrage?
A champagne saber is a ceremonial blade used to open the champagne in a traditional and celebratory way.
The champagne saber, also known as a champagne sabrage, champagne sword, or champagne sabre, can be traced back to the Napoleonic Era. The blade is used to make opening a bottle of champagne a celebratory experience. Today, it tends to be used at weddings, grand openings, and other significant occasions.
Essentially, it is a fairly long blade that is not overly sharp. It tends to have decorative carvings along the handle, and the stainless-steel blade is curved. The blade is not extremely sharp, as it is more a ceremonial item than a weapon.
The blade is used to force the cork out swiftly, which sends the cork into the air with a loud pop due to the pressure within the bottle. Again, this is not the proper way to open a bottle of champagne, but it can be a more exciting spectacle, which explains why it is used in more celebratory settings.
The technique is quite difficult, and it can be quite dangerous, so it is not something you should practice without proper training.
Finding Champagne Near You
To find a champagne retailer near you, use our Liquor Store Locator Tool. This helpful tool will help you find every liquor store near your home so you can easily find a place to purchase a bottle of champagne.
To learn more about champagne, visit Vine Pair’s Complete Guide to Champagne.