Throughout history, man has found inventive ways to mark festive occasions, and one such tradition that exudes elegance and excitement is sabrage. It is the art of opening a bottle of champagne or sparkling wine with a sabel, now a special kind of champagne sabel. This impressive-looking technique has deep historical roots and is always a festive event, often a bit theatrical. In this blog, we look at the fascinating history of sabrage, learn how to saber like a pro and explain why it's best to do so with a champagne sabel.
The history of sabrage
The origin of sabrage goes back to the early 19th century in France, to the time when Napoleon Bonaparte's army officers celebrated victories on the battlefield. The story goes that Napoleon's officers used their sabels to open a bottle of champagne while celebrating a victory. Not that they found it more fun to saber with a sword, but simply because they had no other means of opening the bottle at hand on the battlefield. This impressive display of skill and camaraderie quickly became a symbol of triumph and celebration and spread throughout the military circles of Europe.
With the popularity of champagne, the art of sabrage also grew. It soon transcended military circles and found its way into aristocratic society, where it became a favorite method of opening champagne at grand celebrations and lavish parties. Sabrage itself embodied the essence of elegance, power and celebration in the upper echelons of French and later European society.
How to sabrage?
When they sabrage a champagne bottle it looks pretty impressive isn't it? However, trying it yourself can seem a bit daunting at first. But with the right technique and practice, it's guaranteed to become a mesmerizing feat for you as well. Follow these steps to learn to sabrage in style:
1. Choose the right bottle
Choose a bottle of champagne or sparkling wine that has been chilled to the appropriate serving temperature, usually between 4 to 7°C (40 to 45°F).
2. Remove the foil and cork
Remove the foil covering the cork and unscrew the wire basket, making sure the cork is firmly in place.
3. Locate the seam
Find the seam of the bottle, this is a vertical line where the two halves of the bottle's shape meet.
4. Position the bottle
Hold the bottle at a 30 to 45 degree angle so that the cork is away from people, animals and breakable objects.
5. Slide the sabel
With a quick but controlled motion, slide the blade of the champagne sabel along the seam, aiming at the "lip" of the bottle. The blow should be gentle and the neck of the bottle will break off neatly along the seam.
6. Pour and enjoy
After the sabrage, pour the champagne into glasses and enjoy the moment with your guests.
Why use a champagne sabel?
Although it is possible to saber a bottle of champagne with other types of knives, the champagne sabel offers several advantages over other items:
Tradition and aesthetics
You eat a herring with onions, you drink coffee with a cookie. It is the custom of tradition. The champagne sabel has rich historical significance and takes us back to the time of Napoleon. It is the atmosphere and elegance that makes sabrage with a sabel an aesthetic tradition.
Safety and precision
Champagne sabels are explicitly designed for sabrage and offer the ideal balance between blade weight and sharpness, ensuring both safety and precision during the process. Good thing, especially for beginners
Unique and memorable
To sabrage with a special sabel creates a memorable and photogenic moment at any event. It leaves a lasting impression on guests and participants.
Gifting and collecting
Not only is it fun to do yourself, it's also fun to give a champagne sabel as a gift. Do you know champagne and wine lovers or collectors? Then such a sabel is a personal and rewarding gift. Moreover, you are giving a gift with class that suits someone and his or her collection.
Sabrage is more than just gracefully opening your champagne bottle
We have read where sabrage comes from and why it has become such a sophisticated tradition. To sabrage, then, is more than just opening a bottle of champagne. It is a fascinating tradition that connects us to a bygone era of celebration and friendship. With its deep historical roots, impressive aesthetics and a touch of theatricality, sabrage has rightly earned its place as a cherished tradition in the world of champagne and sparkling wine lovers. So the next time you celebrate an important moment in your life, do something traditional! Then embrace the art of sabrage with a champagne sabel and elevate the joyous occasion with this time-honored and captivating event. Cheers to the art of sabrage!