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Le trick extraordinaire...

"Champagne! In victory one deserves it; in defeat one needs it.”

Le Sabrage (a.k.a. sabering a bottle of champagne) became popular just after the French Revolution when the saber was the weapon of choice of Napoleon's fearsome light cavalry (the Hussars). During victory parties the cavalry would open the Champagne with their sabers.

One of the tales about this tradition is that Madame Clicquot used to entertain Napoleon's officers in her vineyard, and as they rode off in the early morning with their complimentary bottle of Champagne, they would open it with their saber to impress the rich young widow. Now, of course, they would drink from my Reserve (with the company of exquisite beauties).

Step #1: Choose your weapon
Be bold. If you've purchased a pricey ornamental Champagne saber, whip it out. Otherwise, a solid butcher's knife will do just fine. And have some glasses (and maybe a couple of towels) handy.

Step #2: Very Cold Champagne Mon Ami
Be sure to start with a bottle of Champagne that is very cold (38-40°F, tops). Remove the foil wrapper and little wire cage. This will make for a clean break, although some people say it's not necessary to remove the packaging.

Step #3: Grab It (by the derriere as we say)
Grasp the bottle properly. That would be firmly, by the base, and pointed away from any onlookers. Hold it at a 30-degree to 45-degree angle. Find the Line: Locate one of the two vertical seams running up the side of the bottle to the lip. That intersection is where the bottle will break the most cleanly, and that's where you want to aim your stroke.

Step #4: Don't Succumb to Performance Pressure...Take Action
Hold the knife flat against the bottle, blunt edge toward the top with the sharp edge facing you. Run your saber or knife slowly back along the seam toward your body. Then, quickly and firmly thrust it back up the seam toward the bottle's tip. Strike the lip sharply, making sure the leading edge stays down and in toward the crook of the lip. Apply a solid follow-through.

Step 5: Get it in the Glass (unless you are christening a boat)
If you've performed the task properly, the cork (with a little ring of glass around it) will fly off the end of the bottle. You'll then commence pouring the bubbly, say "I learned it in Paris" and offer a very witty toast!

Mon cher ami, just like Napoleon you do this at your own risk!

 Opening a Champagne Bottle 301 

"Let me be your personal chef de cave. Sit back, relax, and I'll choose for you."


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