There’s pretty much an International Day for everything … so why not an International Sabrage Day? At least nothing that I have been able to find, so I reckon we need to start something here …
The technique of sabrage gained popularity in France after Napoleon’s army visited many champagne houses. It was after the French Revolution and the saber was the popular weapon of choice for Napoleon’s light cavalry and they would use their sabres to open Champagne to celebrate their victories.
The sabre is made specifically for opening Champagne, some have short blades of only 30cm, others are much longer, however the length is really immaterial. The blunt side of the sabre is used, because in sabrage it’s the impact that’s important. In fact, you can you pretty much sabre a bottle of Champagne with anything from a flute to an iPhone. A skilled sabreur (is that even a word?) can open a bottle with minimal spillage, although there should be some to wash away any shards that may be left on the neck of the bottle and the first glass should always be checked for bits of glass.
Sabres are available from a variety of outlets and online stores and even certain liquor retailers. I have found Sabre à Champagne to have quite a nice selection ranging in price from $69 up to about $230. They ship worldwide and also have some accessories for your gleaming new sword like wooden cases and wooden display stands.
There is even a Guinness World Record for the most number of Champagne bottles sabered in 1 minute. This is no small feat and was done by Ashrita Furman in 2015 by sabering 66 bottles, beating the previous world record of 47 bottles.
Sabrage is loads of fun, it’s relatively easy to do, but looks super impressive and is definitely the ultimate party trick. Start by removing the entire neck foil from your Champagne bottle. Remove the cage from the cork, but remember to keep your bottle relatively still from this point on as any vigorous movement can cause the cork to shoot out of the bottle. Locate the seam on the bottle, there will be 2, one on either side. It is up along this seam that you will slide your sabre to impact with the neck of the bottle. All that is needed is a smooth movement with gentle impact and the top should simply pop off.
So how about starting our own International Sabrage Day …. 3rd Friday in May every year. Kicking off this year on May 18th, sabre those bottles and show me your moves.
Pop, Fizz, Clink
The Champagne Chick