Sabrage is a special technique for opening a champagne bottle with a saber for ceremonial occasions. The wielder slides the saber along the body of the bottle to break the top of its neck away. Sabrage is a tradition which comes from France, from the times of the Napoleonic Wars, when impatient soldiers had no tendency to open champagne bottles by usual way. The victory was usually celebrated by simple bottle opening with sword. You need to follow a precise procedure and preparation is vital.
Preparation is half the battle
To be successful, you need to handle the bottle carefully without shaking it. Another precondition is the storing temperature that should be between 3 and 5 degrees Celsius. Before the breaking of the top of the bottle’s neck, the film and crown around the cork need to be removed with great precision.
Spacious areas are better
We don’t recommend you try Sabrage in small enclosed spaces such as apartments or offices. The person doing the Sabrage should be at a safe distance from other persons and objects that could be hit by shards or the cork.
How to do Sabrage
If all preconditions are met, hold the bottle of sparkling wine firmly in your elongated arm from below pointing away from you inclined at an angle of 30 to 40 degrees. The side of the blade used should be blunt – a sharpened edge is unnecessary because in Sabrage it is the impact that is important.
The wielder slides the saber along the body of the bottle to break the top of the neck away, leaving the neck of the bottle open and ready to pour. The force of the blunt side of the blade hitting the lip breaks the glass to separate the collar from the neck of the bottle. The cork and collar remain together after separating from the neck. Other instruments may be used such as various types of axes and golf clubs. Do not try these experiments if you are a beginner.
What if Sabrage fails?
If you fail to do Sabrage the first time, it is better you open the bottle the classic way. The risk is that you have disrupted the structure of the glass with a failed blow and the bottle may crack. You are at risk of severe injury.