There’s nothing suave about shooting a Champagne cork into the face of your Valentine’s Day date. Even screaming, “Duck!” tends to knock the cool out of your step; especially when there’s a proper method for opening a bottle of bubbly. Learn how to properly open a bottle of Champagne by following these steps.
1. Make Sure The Bottle Is Chilled.
The bottle needs to be chilled to around 45 degrees Fahrenheit. If it’s not cold enough, the pressure inside the bottle will cause the cork to release very quickly. That’s when you get an eruption and a potentially blinding projectile.
To cool down your bottle quickly, place it in a mixture of 50 percent ice and 50 percent water. That liquid mixture means more of the surface area of the bottle is being cooled.
2. Use A Wine Key To Remove The Foil.
Use a wine key or foil cutter to create a clean, even line around the bottle instead of a mess of excess foil and bits.
3. Remove Wire Cage.
Flip down the small wire “key” that’s pressed up against the neck of the bottle, at the bottom of the wire cage, that encloses the cork. Turn the key to loosen the cage while putting pressure on the top of the cork to keep it from popping out prematurely. Remove and discard the cage.
4. Use A Towel or Champagne Key.
Fold a napkin, or kitchen towel lengthwise and put it over the cage and the cork. This creates another safety measure that can help prevent the cork from flying off like a bullet. You can also purchase a Champagne key that has dual levers for a strong, safe, and comfortable grip.
5. Twist The Bottle, Not The Cork.
While keeping a firm grip on the cork, hold the bottle at a 45° angle and start to rotate the base of the bottle firmly and gently; in this way you will start to ease off the cork. If you twist the cork, it can break inside the bottle.
6. Listen For The Hiss.
As you rotate the bottle you will feel the pressure inside the bottle begin to push out the cork. As soon as you hear a soft “hiss,” stop turning and let the internal pressure slowly release. If you do this properly, the cork will ease out and you’ll find it in your hand with no unexpected “surprises.”
7. Wipe and Serve.
Use your favorite glasses—white wine glasses—not flutes—actually work best.
By following these simple steps, you’ll look suave and enjoy your night without any bags of ice on someone’s face. With more than 200 selections of Champagne, our experts at Spec’s can help you find a bottle perfect for Valentine’s Day or any occasion.