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Le Sabrage

A historical European technique for opening a champagne bottle with a saber or knife, the ceremonial tradition of Sabrage dates back to Napoleonic times.

Written and Photographed by Silas Fallstich


Location: El Encanto, A Belmond Hotel

Follow these instructions to wow your wedding guests!

You will need:

• A bottle of chilled champagne

• An ice bucket and serviette

• A sword or knife

• Champagne glasses


Remove champagne from ice and wipe away all moisture with serviette. Remove all foil from the bottle. Loosen the cage and pull all the wire above the crease of the bottle. Hold the bottle at a 30 degree angle, make sure the trajectory isn’t pointing in the direction of people or delicate objects. Firmly hold the bottle at the base. With the blunt edge of your weapon strike the crease of the bottle. The force of the blunt edge striking the crease breaks the glass and separates the collar from the neck of the bottle. The cork and collar will remain together after they have been broken. The 100 psi in the bottle will take all glass shards out of the bottle. Once the bottle has calmed, pour champagne into glasses.


Some bottles don’t sabrage as well as others. For example, Chandon can be a disaster, the glass is too fine. The Roederer Estate brands don’t sabrage well either. Avoid brands with plastic corks. Korbel and all brands of French Champagne work very well due to the thicker glass.


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