It's undeniable that champagne is one of the most boss drinks out there. Besides being an ethereal bubbling nectar of the gods, it stars alongside music video vixens, gets sprayed by victorious athletes, and helps you toast some of the best moments of your life. But perhaps the thing that makes it the most badass, is that you can open it by cutting the top off with a giant sword. Yeah, like your name is Napoleon and you're hell bent on taking Europe.
Sabering a champagne bottle with a sword, or for those of us without access to medieval weaponry, a chef's knife (I've even heard rumor of being able to do it with an Amex black card if you be ballin') is something I've always wanted to master. So, after finally getting over my fear of losing some of my fingers in the process, I got in touch with Max Shapiro, chef of LA's underground fine dining supper club BRK dining, who is known not only for his elegantly understated dishes but also for his affinity for sabering champagne with an antique sword. Max gave me the run down and by the end I had all my fingers and could saber with the big boys. Cue my new theme song.
So while I'm basically the master of sabering now, after this one time, here's the run down in five easy steps from the man himself, so that you too can drink your champagne like you are celebrating a victory after battle.
Step 1: Chill Your Bottle
Make sure your champagne bottle is very well chilled — sometimes Max puts his bottle in the freezer for 30 minutes before use. It has to be cold because if the bubbles are warm then they are more active, so when you saber, a lot of liquid will spill out, and we certainly don't want to lose any champagne. You want to lose an ounce to an once and a half of liquid.
Step 2: Setup
In terms of setup, if you’re outside just do it. If you’re inside, throw a towel down to catch any spill.
Step 3: Find the Seam
Remove the foil and then locate the bottle's seam. That is the weakest point on the bottle, and you will target it when sabering.
Step 4: Remove the Cage
Remove the wire cage from atop the cork, always pressing your finger on the cork to make sure it doesn't go flying.
Step 5: Saber Time!
Fetch your saber sword or use the back of a chef’s knife — You don’t want to use a really sharp blade because it can slide off of the lip of the bottle; you want a blunt edge, so it catches. Hold it at a 35-degree angle, slide the blade along the seam, and follow through, not using a ton of force but just enough. It’s about confidence. You don’t just gingerly tap it — you gotta strike it and follow through.
It’s the world’s greatest party trick. Make sure not to aim it at people, pets, windows, or children. People find it to be very dangerous, but it’s only dangerous if you’re an asshole.
So there you have it. Now you can open your champagne bottles in style and continue on to the best part — drinking it.
Images: Hillary Eaton