WHAT IS SABRAGE?
It can seem daunting when you are initially handed a sabre and a chilled bottle of Champagne with the expectation that you will sever the top of the bottle with the sword’s blade.
Do not be downhearted! No-one has ever failed and all it needs is a firm wrist with a high elbow and you’ll be back at your table regaling your fellow guests with tales of how easy it really was!
When performed on a suitably chilled bottle of Champagne, the cork and glass annulus fly away, spilling little of the precious wine. The pressure of the Champagne always ensures that no glass falls back into the bottle.
Today, the Maitre-Sabreur is always there to make sure safety is observed, and the cork flies away from spectators.
HOW IT'S DONE
Take a chilled bottle of champagne, not ice cold but suitable for drinking. The ideal temperature is around 37°F or 3°C
Carefully remove the wire around the cork.
If the champagne has been properly chilled, the cork will remain in the bottle.
Carefully remove the wire around the cork. If the champagne has been properly chilled, the cork will remain in the bottle.
Find one of the two seams along the side of the bottle. At the same time, you can remove the foil which will impede the sliding movement of the sabre.
When you are an experienced Chevalier-Sabreur, this will not be necessary.
With your arm extended, hold the bottle firmly by placing the thumb inside the punt at the base of the bottle. Make sure the neck is pointing up – around 30° from horizontal. Make sure no one is in your line of fire.
Calmly lay the sabre flat along the seam of the bottle with the sharp edge ready to slide firmly against the annulus at the top.
Your firm sliding of the sabre against this ring is aided by the internal pressure of the bottle, so that the cork flies dramatically away. This leaves a neat cut on the neck of the bottle and the champagne is ready to be enjoyed.