Champagne & Swords: Don’t Try This at Home

Legally, we’re required to advise you against this. Morally, however, we feel obligated to call your attention to the 200-year-old technique of popping bottles with extreme panache known as sabrage (i.e., using a sabre to open a bottle of champagne). Legend has it that Napoleon’s cavalry invented the method to show off, on horseback, after partying with Madame Clicquot—the “Grand Dame of Champagne” who inherited Veuve Clicquot from her late husband in 1805. Here are a few tutorials on how to do it (not that we recommend it, of course)—and how not to. Extra style points if you’re on a horse.

Tips and history from a bonafide sabrage master.

Eighteen examples of exactly what NOT to do—even when a sword is
nowhere in sight. (For a refresher on basic bottle-opening, click here.)


We’ll leave you with one more piece of wisdom, no matter how your 2012 (and ill-advised sabrage attempts) panned out. Here’s to a stylish and successful 2013:

“Champagne! In victory, one deserves it; in defeat, one needs it.”
—Napoleon Bonaparte

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