Sabrage – opening a bottle of champagne with a blade, is probably the most famous of all blade tricks. When done right, it is an impressive performance. Done incorrectly, it can be a dangerous endeavor. You don’t need any fancy sword or knife (or dedicated sabrage tool), any stout blade will do. And you don’t need to use the sharp edge like in the video above. The spine of a knife will work just fine.
Follow the steps below to ensure a positive result.
1. Go outside. Trust us: You want to avoid breaking valuables or creating a mess all over your home.
2. Use only true Champagne. Bubbles like prosecco and Cava (sparkling wine from Italy and Spain, respectively) just won’t do for this task, and it’s not about the money spent, says Chang. “Champagne bottles in particular have 9 atmospheres of pressure, the same as the tire of a double decker bus,” she says. Other wines bottles are made from a different kind of glass and have a weaker amount of pressure, making them more likely to shatter or break in your hands.
3. Chill the bottle. The Champagne should be very cold, says Chang. “It’ll help make the glass more brittle, or tighten up” so it’s easier to break. Let the bottle sit in an ice bath with a little salt to quickly chill it down. Just make sure to dry off the bottle when you pull it out of the ice to prevent it from slipping out of your hands during the sabering.
4. Take off all the foil. Running vertically on the Champagne bottle is a very thin seam, where the bottle is fused upon being made. Removing the foil on the bottle makes it easier to find the seam and where it meets the bottle lip, the “sweet spot” for sabering.
5. Don’t aim for the cork. Aim just below, where the seam meets the lip, the weakest point of the whole bottle, says Chang.
6. As in billiards, line up your shot. “Run the saber or tool along the glass, not above it,” says Chang.
7. Hold the bottle at a 45-degree angle. This ensures the cork flies outward, away from you, and not towards a person. Never aim a bottle at people or living things, like pets.
8. Use the blunt side of your saber or knife. “You want to use the dull end. You get a little more surface area to hit the sweet spot.”
9. Follow through. “Like golf or tennis, you want to follow through with your saber,” says Chang. “Don’t be afraid.” But no need to be too forceful. If your bottle is cold, and you hit that sweet spot just so, the top of the bottle will fire outward and cleanly, with enough velocity that there’s no chance for glass to enter the bottle.
10. Bonus tip: If the bottle is a little slippery, or you’re worried about the bottle shattering, feel free to wear gloves and goggles.
Of course failure to heed the above steps will result in a spectacular result as well. Like this Aussie who forgot to remove the cage:
Of course if you don’t have a sabre, a spoon will work in a pinch.