How to Saber a Champagne Bottle for the New Year!
Posted on Friday, December 30 2016 07:42:00 PM in Blog by Kathy Choi-Lee
Gif via https://champagnesabre.wordpress.com
Happy 'almost' New Year, 2017!
We thought it we'd show you how to showoff to your guests with this fun celebratory trick. Maybe practice with some Prosecco bottles first before trying to saber your expensive Dom Perignon bottle that has been aging nicely all year.
Here is a great article on how to Saber a Champagne Bottle:
Sabering a Champagne bottle: Seems like a magic trick reserved for master sommeliers and best-selling sci-fi writers, right? Wrong! Anyone can pull off this feat of physics, and you don’t even have to be particularly strong or particularly coordinated—and you don’t need a particularly strong blade. All you really need: a little finesse, a little science, and a lot of Champagne. (Assuming you’re new to this, that is. It can take a few trials to get the technique down.)
Here’s what you need to know: The pressure in a bottle of Champagne is about 90 pounds per square inch. The diameter of its opening, meanwhile, is less than three-quarters of an inch wide. That means there is a force of roughly 35 pounds pushing on the cork at all times. In the early years of Champagne-making, bottles were made from thinner glass and would regularly burst in the cellar as secondary fermentation released carbon dioxide and increased the pressure. To cut down on exploding product, Champagne-makers added wire cages to contain the corks and thickened the glass to more effectively contain the pressure.
The upshot is that today, a Champagne bottle usually won’t break for no apparent reason (though the world is full of surprises, so it’s not unheard of). The key to sabrage lies in one important detail: no matter how thick or strong the bottle is, glass is still a “brittle” material. That means it will break instead of bend when pressure is applied. And just one well-placed scratch on the surface will compromise its integrity. In this case, a light score along the 90-degree angle underneath the lip of the bottle creates a microscopic crack where the bottle is weakest. With just one fluid nudge from your saber, the pressure inside the bottle cleaves and opens a crack in the glass, releasing the collar of the bottle and the cork along with it. Do this right, and the neck won’t shatter or splinter; it will break off with a clean split. That’s because the saber itself doesn’t actually break the bottle but instead simply propagates a fracture that allows the pressure inside the bottle to release.
As we’ve mentioned, this may take some practice, so chill a few bottles and watch where you’re pointing that thing—you don’t want to risk injuring others in your quest for sabering perfection. Once you get it right, however, it’s a pretty sweet party trick practiced in the auspicious tradition of notables such as Emperor Napoleon, Mirko Rainer—the Guinness World Record holder who once sabered 47 bottles in one minute—and Neal Stephenson himself.
Chill a bottle of Champagne or sparkling wine. Or a case. This could take practice. Stand in the backyard or another place where no one will be hit by a sharp piece of flying glass.
Remove all foil and the wire basket from the bottle. Locate the seam in the glass that leads up to the lip of the bottle. Where the seam meets the lip is the weakest part of the bottle. You will follow this line with your blade.
Firmly grip the base of the bottle with your off hand and hold at a 30-degree angle, with the top of the bottle angled away from you. Rest the blade flat against the bottle seam, turning the blunt edge toward the cork to avoid damaging the knife.
Quickly slide the blade up the bottle along the seam, aiming for the ring near the top of the bottle (not the cork). Glass is so brittle that any nick weakens it greatly. Sliding the blade along the bottle creates just enough of a nick that when the blade hits the lip, the glass separates. This doesn’t take as much force as you may think after watching our video. Too much force, in fact, can just cause the knife to bounce off.
Done properly, this technique will make the top of the bottle fly off.