Opening Champagne: A Class Act
Champagne epitomizes glamour, elegance and style and is synonymous with celebration, success and fun times. As a result, no major event is complete without a bottle of champers.
Equally as important as producing a bottle of fizz, is knowing how to open and serve it. It’s amazing how many people get it wrong – me included! 😦 When it comes to opening bottles of Champagne, wine, or ketchup, I leave that firmly in the capable hands of Mr. D as I really struggle with it!
Thankfully there are techniques involved in serving Champagne which make the whole process look effortless and requires minimal practise.
1. FIRST THINGS FIRST
Chill the Champagne.
Do you like warm Champagne? What a surprise – neither do we! A chilled drink is so much more pleasant than a lukewarm one. So chill the bottle for at least one hour in the fridge or on ice. Not only will this make the drink more palatable but chilling the Champagne reduces the chances of the Champagne cork shooting out unexpectedly.
2. NOW TO OPEN
- Wrap a thick tea towel around the bottle in case of breakage.
- Remove the foil wrapper.
- Hold the neck of the bottle firmly in one hand.
- With your thumb, apply pressure to the top of the wire cage against the cork.
- Twist to remove the wire cage. Maintain firm pressure with your thumb to prevent the cork from unexpectedly popping out.*
- Tilt the bottle at a 45 degree angle away from you – and other people!
- Holding the cork firmly, twist the bottle NOT the cork.
- Keep a steady pressure on the cork with your hand as you feel it begin to loosen and rise.
- You may expect to hear a super loud bang as the cork is released from the bottle, but if done correctly all you should hear is a ‘fizzy hiss.’
- Once you’ve opened the bottle, hold it by it’s base, with your thumb in the deep concave, while your other four fingers cradle the bottle.
- Pour a small amount of Champagne into each glass, resisting the temptation to rapidly fill it. As the foam subsides you can add a little more to each glass.
- Just in case one glass bubbles over, discreetly place your finger over the rim of the glass in order to prevent it spilling onto your guests fabulous outfits. You don’t want the night to end on a bad note!
* I heard about a lady who got hit on the side of her head – quite close to her eye- by an unexpected popping Champagne cork. To this day, even though she likes drinking Champagne, she has something of a phobia regarding Champagne bottles and corks – and quite frankly I don’t blame her. So remember safety first; Champagne is to be enjoyed not feared.