Bring in the New Year With a Bang! - FineCooking.com

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Bring in the New Year With a Bang!

Video Length: 1:40
Produced by: Lee Stokes

I've always gotten a little thrill out of opening a bottle of Champagne. There's something about the ritual of removing the foil and wire cage, of twisting off the cork, and being rewarded with that signature "pop" that simply makes me giddy. But it wasn't until last year that I learned there's more than one way to open a bottle of bubbly. In fact, there's a better way, and that's to saber the bottle.

Sabering Champagne is big and showy, and an utter scene-stealer wherever you choose to execute it. What is sabering? Well, instead of twisting off the cork, you use a blunt blade to snap off the entire top of the bottle - cork and all. It's a lot easier to demonstrate the technique rather than describe it in words, so I made this short video (with the help of the great Lee Stokes) to show you how.

We shot it outside, so the sound is a little challenging at a few points. To recap the main points:

First and foremost, do this at your own risk! This process not only sends a cork flying through the air, but also results in two edges broken glass (one attached the the cork, and the other on the bottle itself). However, you should definitely not let this warning discourage you.

  1. Get your bubbly, a blunt blade (such as the back of a chef's knife), and your glasses ready. Sabering inevitably produces a festive spray of Champagne, so you may also want to do this outside.
  2. Remove the foil and cage from the bottle. From now on, keep the cork pointed away from yourself, other people, and any fragile objects that might be nearby.
  3. Find the seam that runs the length of the bottle, and then follow it up to the neck. The intersection of the seam and the neck is your target.
  4. Hold the bottle steady with your non-blade hand. With your other hand, use the blunt blade to trace the seam up to the target point, just like you'd set up a shot in pool. When you're ready, follow through with a little bit of pressure. The top of the bottle will snap off with surprisingly little force.

Salud, Cheers, Cin Cin, and Happy New Year!

posted in: Dabney Gough, champagne, New year's eve
Comments (10)

khut writes: I don't think this 'trick' video has any place on your Fine website.
Removing a champagne cork with this method is not only dangerous but wastes so much of the beverage and
broken glass hurts!
Your video showing the correct and safe way sends a much better message and is more in line with Fine Cooking's image. Posted: 11:53 pm on December 29th

sisterduck writes: Thanks, but I'll stick to more conventional methods. Simply holding a towel over the cork prevents any projectile injuries, and I'm not willing to risk drinking glass. Posted: 1:50 pm on December 29th

GTO_driver writes: Quite interesting. Everything has a risk. What a treat to see an unusual skill exhibited. Posted: 1:24 pm on December 29th

Tyler_M writes: Actually, if you look at the statistics, this is much safer than conventional methods of opening champagne. The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO)claims that improperly aimed (non-sabered) Champagne corks are one of the most common causes of holiday-related eye injuries. There was an incident in England in 1952 in which 30% of the population of the Newbury Park Tube Station ended hospitalised with Champagne-cork-related injuries.

Medical experts see more problems with folks trying to use a corkscrew or simply removing the cage long before opening the bottle. None of the literature available mentions sabrage-related injuries.
Posted: 1:15 pm on December 29th

eatright writes: This is not an impressive trick in my opinion. Swallowed glass is a serious risk. Please remove this from your website. Posted: 12:51 pm on December 29th

IrishJohn writes: Come on people use a little common sense here........broken glass is not good anywhere,especially served in a drink. That's as stupid as having beer bottles poolside. Posted: 7:54 am on December 29th

36ftsloop writes: I don't think this is cool at all. There is a chance of drinking glass. Not safe, not cool and not a good idea.
in fact its a very bad idea. Posted: 12:51 am on December 29th

BiteMeTwiceOver writes: I have done this trick MANY times and there are two caveats:

There definitely is the danger of glass being sprayed with the explosive release of champagne. Make sure there is nobody within 25 feet of you. I mean that - 25 feet!

Second, have a very fine strainer handy to strain the bubbly as it is poured into glasses. Technically, there is enough force to ensure that all the little shards are blown out, away from the bottle. Still, I have seen small bits sink to the bottom of the first few glasses.

Sending your guests to the emergency room is NOT the cool trick you were shooting for.

And, in Texas, I once saw this done by shooting the neck off the bottle with a revolver. Gotta love them Texans - Yee-HA! Posted: 10:08 pm on December 28th

Pielove writes: Wow, that is amazing-- I saw this done on Iron Chef, I am so excited to try it at home-- probably on a cheap bottle of bubbly first! How much of the wine do you lose?
Posted: 10:03 pm on December 28th

ccocallas writes: The sound is "...a little challenging..."? :-D

Is there any possibility of broken glass? Should safety glasses be worn? Posted: 8:13 pm on December 28th

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About the Eat Generation

Follow the foodie adventures of former Fine Cooking recipe tester Dabney Gough as she takes a bite out of life in San Francisco. By day she's the marketing director for a specialty grocery store. By night, she's usually out exploring the city's amazing cocktail scene.