It’s the third Friday in May- and that means it’s International Sabrage Day! If you’re new to the wider world of Champagne, you might not even know what Sabrage is, but that’s ok. The helpful team from Louisvale Wines is here to fill you in on everything you need. So if you’re looking for an excuse to celebrate (it is Friday, after all), then why not crack a beautiful bottle of bubbly and kick back as we fill you in on all-things-sabrage!
Swords and Bubbles and Delicious Things
Put down the corkscrews, Ladies and Gents…it’s time to get wild!
Sabrage is the art of opening a Champagne bottle with a sword. Today, you’ll get special Champagne sabres, often with a short blade made specifically for the bottle. It stems from the heady days of French Emperor Napoleon, however, when his army would celebrate their victories by slicing and dicing a Champagne bottle to enjoy. The sabre was an iconic weapon for mounted cavalry at the time. Some myths tie it to the young Madame Clicquot, who inherited her husband’s Champagne house as a young widow and heavily influenced the development of the Champagne industry, but the true origin of the trick is lost to the romance of time.
With this in mind, you’ll probably be surprised to find out that it has nothing to do with super-sharp slicing. In fact, you can sabrage a Champagne bottle with almost anything- even your iPhone if you feel like it!
The secret to sabrage lies in how the blade impacts the bottle, not what’s doing the cutting. Sounds risky? It can be, but a skilled sabreur can cleanly remove the neck of the bottle with minimal spillage. The current world record stands at 66 bottles in 1 minute. You might want to check the first glass carefully, though!
The Ultimate Party Trick
Sabrage is surprisingly easy to do, too, although it looks wildly impressive and makes for a fantastic party trick. The Champagne bottle is de-foiled and the cork cage removed. Then, keeping the bottle super still to avoid the cork popping, find the seam of the bottle. Most standard glass bottles have two, directly opposite each other.
The sabre is slid up the seam to impact the neck of the bottle. The secret lies in a smooth and gentle movement that lets the top pop off without sending glass shards flying.
So if your host whips out an impressive-looking knife at the dinner table, don’t panic! You’re not being invited to duel to the death, but rather watch one of the most impressive ways to open a Champagne bottle there is.
If you fancy trying your own hand at sabrage, you’ll find sabrage sabres widely available anywhere wine lovers gather. We do suggest practising a little with some empties before you whack away at your favourite Louisvale MCC, though!
If wielding deadly weapons is a little out of your ballpark, don’t worry- a standard corkscrew can work just as well. But why not treat yourself to some celebratory bubbles with the Louisvale Wine team tonight in honour of International Sabrage Day? Treat yourself- you deserve the spoil!