How to Saber a Bottle of Champagne
Our expert guide tells you everything you need to know about sabering Champagne.
Sabering Champagne is the ultimate celebration. It’s surprisingly easy to do as long as you follow a few simple steps. Take it from me — I have a collection of Champagne corks that I have sabered, and I’ve used everything from a proper saber to a butter knife to saber a bottle of Champagne. Of course, sabering Champagne can be dangerous, so attempt at your own risk.
Pick Your Saber
If you have a Champagne saber, you’re all set. If you don’t have a Champagne saber, you can use the blunt edge of a chef’s knife or a butter knife, a spoon, or the foot of a wine glass. I’ve even seen people use watches and metal credit cards, but I wouldn’t recommend that for beginners. I personally use Ethan+Ashe’s Vagnbys Champagne Sabre or one from California Champagne Saber Company.
Chill Your Champagne
Your Champagne must be cold, cold, cold! Place your bottle in the fridge for at least a few hours, or chill it in an ice bucket filled three-quarters with an equal amount of water and ice. After the bottle is cold, flip it upside down and submerge it for up to 15 minutes to be sure the neck is icy cold to the touch. Once it’s cold enough, remove the bottle from the ice bucket and dry it completely.
Remove the Label and Wire Cage
Then take off the entire label, not just the top foil, and remove the wire cage. This way, you can see the seams of the bottle and find the right place to hit it. If you won’t be sabering the Champagne immediately, you can fasten the wire cage above the lip of the neck for a little extra protection.
How to Saber Champagne
Hold the bottle horizontally and find the seams of the bottle, where the two halves meet. Place one seam facing up. A common misconception is that when sabering Champagne, just the cork pops out. Not true. When you saber Champagne, you are actually breaking off the top part of the glass bottle that holds the cork. By hitting the bottle with enough force at the weakest point — where the two halves connect to the neck of the bottle — the pressure inside the bottle causes the glass to break and forces it to pop off.
Now that you’ve found the weakest point of the bottle, point it away from anyone nearby. Then slide your saber along the seam and hit your target. You don’t need a huge amount of force to saber Champagne, but you do need to hit it firmly and follow through. Finally, pour a little Champagne to ensure there are no glass shards on the bottleneck, and serve. Be sure to check the floor for bits of glass, too.
Champagne Saber Fails
The internet is full of videos of Champagne saber fails. If you saber a bottle incorrectly, it’s extremely dangerous, and you could wind up needing stitches if the bottle explodes. If you aren’t successful on your first attempt, don’t worry. Stop, take a deep breath, and start again. Ensure the seam is pointing upwards and you have the bottle at a 30-40 degree angle. Then, try again with a little more force. It’s very important that you don’t point the cork at anyone — including yourself — while you realign yourself. It could pop off at any moment, and I have had a few delayed cork pops myself.