How to Flawlessly Open a Champagne Bottle Every Time
Curious about how to open a champagne bottle without sending the cork flying into the ceiling?
When there’s something to celebrate, a special beverage is in order: champagne! But before diving headlong into champagne cocktails, you’ll want to acquaint yourself with how to open champagne. Whether you’re setting up a champagne bar or making a toast, here are a sommelier’s tips on how to open a champagne bottle.
Know the Bubbly Rules
There are two cardinal rules when it comes to opening a bottle of champagne.
Rule 1: Stay safe
Whatever you do, make sure you never point the top of the bottle at anyone. Bottles of champagne and other sparkling wine are super pressurized, turning the cork into a ready-made projectile. If you’re not careful, you can seriously hurt someone. This pressure is the same reason that bottles of sparkling wine are made from thicker glass than their still counterparts.
Rule 2: Waste not, want not
While the movies may have us thinking that the bottle should open with a loud pop followed by a stream of champagne, in reality the exact opposite is true. After all, you don’t want to waste any of that liquid gold! Quieter is better here.
How to Open a Champagne Bottle
Here are foolproof steps to opening a bottle of bubbly without worrying about any cork-related injuries to friends or your ceiling. Most importantly, whether you’re serving a vintage bottle, a nonalcoholic champagne or the best cheap champagne, you’ll never waste a drop.
Step 1: Remove the foil
If there’s a pull-tab on the foil cover, pull on it to cut through the wrapper and remove.
Alternatively, use the serrated knife of a wine key to cut the metal foil right below the lip of the bottle. Set the foil aside.
Step 2: Undo the wire cage
While keeping pressure on the cork with your thumb, gently twist the ‘o’ ring of the wire cage until it comes loose. You can leave the wire cage over the cork while you open the bottle, or carefully remove it and set aside.
Step 3: Twist the bottle
Cover the top of the bottle with a kitchen towel or napkin, and place one hand on top of the bottle with the thumb firmly over the cork. Once you’re certain the bottle is pointed away from bystanders (or anything fragile), slowly rotate the bottle while holding the cork with the towel. The cork should begin spinning slightly, allowing the gas to gradually and naturally escape.
At this point, you should hear a gentle hiss. Don’t let it shoot out at full speed: Keep a little pressure on the cork as you slowly ease it out of the bottle.
Step 4: Open the bottle
As the cork comes out, there should be little to no “pop.” That’s the goal. If the bottle was properly chilled and handled with care, there will be no overflow gushing out, either. But if there is, have the glasses ready. Flutes look nice but they aren’t necessarily the best glasses for champagne. Try white wine glasses instead!
Step 5: Pour and serve
Rest the bottle on the rim of the glass to pour, which prevents those tiny bubbles from escaping. Then pour slowly, pausing to allow the bubbles to settle, and fill the glass about halfway.
Pass the glasses around, and clink a toast for any reason. Now everyone can enjoy a delicious glass of champagne with a tasty spread of one-bite snacks and other party food.