A champagne sabre brings an extra dimension to the party
When there is something special to celebrate.
When opening a bottle of Champagne with a discrete fizz is not quite going to cut it.
When it is time to celebrate with style.
It is hard to come up with a more festive and glamourous way to open a bottle of sparkling wine than by sabering. With an elegant swing of the sabre along the bottleneck, the mushroom shaped cork flies with a ring of green bottle glass attached to it. A clean cut has severed the bottle. Actually, it all happens thanks to the pressure in the bottle than because of the actual sabre.
No matter what, it is a really festive start to a special evening. If you are on the search for a different way of serving your sparkling wine, it is a great idea to saber a good bottle of fizz. Sabering is meant to be spectacular and festive. And it surely is!
Be prepared for sabrage
It is by no means difficult to saber a bottle of Champagne. However, there are a few things you should consider before getting started.
First of all, you should ensure that there is enough space around you. Lots of space. A mushroom cork can fly very far and there is a lot of force behind. It is best to go outside where you can make good distance.
Before you get started, the bottle must be done. Remove foil and steel wire. If you want, you can tighten the steel wire again a little further up. The best results are obtained with a refrigerator-cold bottle.
How to use a Champagne sword
Always keep the bottle so the neck points away from you and anybody else. To get a good grip on the bottle, you can stick your thumb up into the bottom of the bottle and grab the bottle with the rest of your hand. Find the line that goes along the bottle from top to bottom. The seam or joining line, if you want.
Along this line let the saber slide on the bottle. You can practice by letting the saber slide a few times from the bottom to the top. Now repeat the movement and complete it until you hold the Champagne saber at the end of your stretched arm. One-two-three and in the second the saber strikes the thick edge of the bottle neck, the cork flies. Actually, it is the pressure within the bottle that gets the job done.
When you pick up the champagne cork, a nice ring of green glass will be clinging around it. The bottle is cut clean at the top. There is no cause for concern for pieces of glass in the wine if there is no glass ring attached to the cork. The pressure has shot out and ejected all possible glass residue.
You can now serve these wonderful bubbles for your guests. Cheers.
Can you saber something else than Champagne?
You should not try sabering a bottle of beer because there is not enough pressure in the bottle. You can saber other sparkling wines than Champagne, though. You can easily open a bottle of Cava, Spumante, Sekt, Crémant and all the other sparkling wines with a mushroom shaped cork with a Champagne sword.
If the fine nuances and details in the taste is the most important thing, you ought to reconsider whether sabering is the best way to open your bottle. There is no doubt that sabrage is not the most gentle and careful way to open a bottle of sparkling wine. If you want to be sure to fully enjoy the fine bubbles at their best, you should open the bottle manually with a delicate fizz.
But that's not what we are dealing with here. Here it is all about the party and joy. And when it comes to that there really is no way around it without a champagne sabre.
Where does sabering Champagne come from?
The stories of the origin of Champagne sabering are various. One of them is about the legendary Madame Clicquot-Ponsardin (1777-1866), who as young got married into the rich Clicquot family. As a 27-year-old widow, she took over the ownership and operation of the family Champagne company in 1805.
Madame Clicquot-Ponsardin, better known as La Grande Dame de la Champagne or La Veuve Clicquot, was also known for hosting big parties for Napoléon?s officers and the upper-class bourgeoisie. The celebrations were allegedly held to, among other things, ensure protection for her estates and the highly valuable vineyards. When the festivities came to an end, it was customary that La Veuve Clicquot gave the officers a bottle of Champagne for the road or for them to enjoy before they went to war.
The soldiers who were mounted could not open foil, remove the metal wire and pull the cork of the Champagne bottle while riding a horse. The story goes that one day a young officer drew his sword and sabered the bottle neck in one clean cut.
Now the art of opening a bottle of Champagne with a saber was born.
Other stories tell us that Napoleon Bonaparte brought along bottles of Champagne when his army went to war. From here the following quote is attributed to the fiery Corsican:
"Champagne! In victory you deserve it, in defeat you need it!" - Napoléon Bonaparte
Not just any widow
The Champagne widow also invented the remuage technique, the pupitre bottle rack and the disgorging process. Essentially, a process that removes redundant sediments from the second fermentation inside the bottle, resulting in finer bubbles and clear wines. The Champagne House Clicqout-Ponsardin also became one of the biggest suppliers of Champagne to the Russian Empire and the wine of choice everywhere a celebration was held in France.
To this day the wines are excellent and especially the prestige cuvée La Grande Dame are considered among the absolute elite of wines from the big houses in Champagne.
What kind of sabre do you use to open a Champagne bottle?
The classic swords look beautiful, represent large ceremonial value and are very festive. They are available in several versions.
The shorter Arab-like models, on the other hand, are the ones most commonly used in record attempts. They are handy and efficient when you want to open several bottles of wine in a row.
A modern champagne sword is not sharpened and is therefore a tool for opening champagne and not a weapon.
It is highly advised that you consult the police authorities to clarify if you must have a permit before acquiring a Champagne sabre.