Learn the Coolest Party Trick Ever

Amuse your friends tonight by sabering a champagne bottle tonight.


In terms of talents that confer immediate party-legend status, sabering a Champagne bottle—literally, opening it with an edged weapon of some sort—is up there with fire-breathing and taking home the hot bartender. Only easier. To help lend a hint of mayhem to your holiday party, we asked Patrick Cappiello, wine director at New York City's Pearl & Ash, and Matthew Conway, sommelier/general manager at Marc Forgione, what you need to pull it off.

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No. 1: A Blade

Do not operate sword after drinking.

"I've done it with a bunch of stuff," says Cappiello. "One night we were running around the bar trying to figure out what we could use: I did it with a spatula, I've done it with an ice cream scoop. But the smaller and the lighter the item is, the harder it is [to saber with]. Chef's knives are a good household item to use—the heavier the better, because that's what it's all about: the weight. And you don't want to use the blade, because it'll chip or dull it. Use the back of the knife—that's the traditional way."

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No. 2: A Very Cold Bottle of Champagne

Champs on ice: not just for looks, but for science!

"You want to make sure that the bottle is really well chilled," says Cappiello. "I'll often give it an ice-water bath." While you can use sparkling wine or even corked beer, Conway recommends using real Champagne. "The level of PSI [pounds per square inch, a unit to measure pressure] in a bottle of Champagne is like the pressure in a big-rig tire. That's why there's a cage on it, because there's so much pressure from the secondary fermentation. If the secondary fermentation isn't done in the bottle—if you're using prosecco or whatever—it can be much harder."

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No. 3: A Good Golf Swing

Really important to get this part right.

"Once you have that well-chilled bottle with the foil and cage completely off, aim the bottle away from you and place the knife at a forty-five-degree angle to the bottle, with the blade facing you. Tip the front of the knife up a bit, with the back of the knife on the bottle, and lightly follow through," says Cappiello. "Just make connection at the lip of the bottle. And then that's it. The pressure will do the rest. That's another thing—some people really smash it as hard as they can. You don't need to do that." Conway suggests following the tiny seam that runs the length of the bottle on your way to tapping the tip. "You want to tap it where the seam meets the neck," he says.

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No. 4: Champagne Glasses

Ta da! After all that skillful work, enjoy your bubbly right.

"The crazy part about sabering Champagne is that when it happens, everybody's first reaction is to grab the bottle and drink from it. It's basically like trying to drink razor blades. It's a bad idea," says Conway. "Use a glass."

From: Esquire
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