Legend has it that Champagne-quaffing conqueror Napoléon Bonaparte preferred to pop his bottles with a swipe of his sword. This theatrical method is still used at celebrations by those with a flair for the dramatic. Here are some tips to make this your newest party trick:
1. Special Champagne swords can be used, but are not necessary. The trick will work with any object with a slim, firm edge, as long as it will hold up to the impact. Something like a butter knife, a metal ruler or even a spoon would work.
2. Chill the bottle, cork-end down, in ice. This is essential in making the glass ‘brittle’ so the lip will pop off easily.
3. For beginners, it is suggested to remove the foil and cage around the cork. Make sure that the neck of the bottle is completely bare (but be very careful where you point the cork once the cage is off).
4. Find the seam on the neck of the bottle, this is the join that runs down the sides where two pieces of glass join together to form the bottle’s shape.
5. Run your weapon of choice along the seam. If you are using a knife making sure the blade is as flat against the neck of the bottle as possible. Hitting the neck at an angle could shatter the bottle and be very dangerous.
6. In one swift motion, swipe the blade up the seam, hitting the lip of the bottle at the weakest spot where the glass joins for a clean break. Not a lot of force is needed, but it is important to follow through with the direction of the blade.
7. If the break is not clean, do not serve the wine as there could be glass fragments in the bottle. If done correctly, the pressure of the wine escaping should push any fragments out of the bottle.
8. Bask in your new-found status of party king or queen. Santé!