UD: Tools Of The Trade

How to Saber a Champagne Bottle

There's no getting around the fact that we must possess certain skills. The ability to "close," for example. These are the Tools of The Trade, a new regular feature we'll be running here at UD. Read, practice and file away for reference. You'll be glad you did.

Men can be divided into three groups: those who pop open champagne bottles with their hands; those who threaten to saber their bubbly but then use their hands; and those (true men) who can actually use a saber. If you're looking to make a jump to group three, and you're willing to die trying, here is a step-by-step instructional guide to help you ring in the New Year right.

1. DISROBE YOUR BUBBLY: Take your well-chilled bottle of champagne and remove both the foil and the wire cage covering the cork (as you probably know, it's essential the bottle be well-chilled to avoid leakage, foaming and premature cork-popping).

2. LOCATE YOUR TARGET: Locate one of the two vertical seams running up the side of the bottle. Where the seam meets the lower lip of the bottle is the point at which you'll aim.

3. CONTROL YOUR SABER: Grip the bottle firmly around the base. Point the bottle at a 30-45 degree angle away from all people, windows and, obviously, Faberge eggs. Now take your saber (or the back edge of a chef's knife) and lay the blade flat, just below the lip at the weak spot.

4. MOMENT OF TRUTH: Draw the sword back along the seam and then swing with full force away from your body, upward and into the bottom of the lip. Don't forget to follow through (as with any sport, see the cork popping, be the ball). To minimize spillage, turn the bottle upright immediately afterward.

5. VICTORY: If done right, the cork and bottle top will thrust several feet into the air, and you will lose no more than an ounce of your champagne. And you will be a hero.

Of course, the only thing that looks worse than struggling with a champagne cork is struggling with a saber and a champagne cork, so in a word: practice.

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