I don’t have an official bucket list. When there’s a place I want to travel to or something I want to do I usually don’t wait around that long and just go do it. Recently I’d seen some people sabering Champagne and it looked super badass, so I decided that I needed to do it too.
I emailed Belinda Chang, the Brand Education Manager at Moët Hennessy, and asked her where I might be able to not just learn how it’s done but to actually do it too. Clearly I asked the right person, since she replied back that she actually owns not one but two sabers and could teach me. Amazing! And December 16 would’ve actually been Madame Clicquot’s 236th birthday, so doing this this post today is incredibly fitting.
We headed to the Norwood Club and Belinda’s saber was already out on the table. This thing was scary. You could easily slice off a finger, ear, head – pick a body part. I was getting mildly nervous.
It did have this cool bumblebee on it though.
You can actually “saber” Champagne with a ton of objects – the bottom of a wine glass or even an iPad – because you’re not using the sharp side of the saber anyway. Sabers are now really just used for drama, though they were the traditional way to do it. The guys in Napolean’s army would open their celebratory Champagne with their sabers, sometimes to impress Madame Clicquot herself. Hot scale: 10.
Belinda told me a couple key pointers about how to saber:
1 take off the cage
2 find the vertical seam on the bottle
3 hold the bottle at a 45 degree angle
4 run the blunt side of the saber along the seam a few times, like a pool cue
5 swoop the saber all the way to the lip of the bottle – and POP! Off it goes!
Being the head of education, Belinda made me wear protective gear: gloves (like thick oyster-shucking ones) and nerd-fest glasses. I don’t look that cute in the video with the glasses on, but you know what would be even less cute? A bloody eye socket. Therefore, I happily wore the glasses.
OK, so here was my attempt:
It was amazing and now I want to open every bottle by saber!
One note on safety: Champagne corks can be super dangerous. They pop out of bottles at up to 60 miles per hour. If your eye is in its path, it won’t really have a chance. The other day, this girl told me that her dad lost his eye when a cork flew into it accidentally. It’s really not a joke, so be safe out there.
And happy bday, Madame Clicquot! Her husband passed away when she was 27 and she inherited his Champagne house. 209 years later, we’re still drinking her great bub.