Champagne is one of life’s elegant extras. Sadly, not an original thought. Charles Dickens said it first. But I could not agree more. Champagne is a cure for sadness and an amplifier of happiness. And of course, opening a bottle is wonderfully dramatic. Especially when you saber off the top!
We’ve been doing it for ever. Sometimes with an old sword. (Rather life threatening.) Sometimes with our kitchen knives. (Rather damaging to the blades even when using the dull side.)
Then I received the perfect gift. My very own dedicated Champagne sabre. Made by Georg Jensen. At first, I thought it was a giant cheese knife. Dull blade for brie? Luckily it came with instructions. I put the boys to work opening bottle after glorious bottle.
Lopping off the cork still imbedded in the top of the neck was a favorite trick of Napoleon’s light cavalry. They carried sabers and, for a while, had a lot to celebrate as they racked up victories all across Europe. A uniformed man astride a big horse knocking the top off a bottle of bubbly with his sword. Totally swoon worthy.
But actually, not all that difficult. It’s physics. A champagne bottle holds a tremendous amount of pressure. The lip of the bottle and a thin seam along the side are both stress points. Where they meet is a relative weak spot. The impact of the sabre on this spot causes a quick crack which combined with the stored pressure sends the top flying. It doesn’t take strength only aim. Rumor has it a bottle can even be opened with the bottom a wine glass. The next party trick?