How to Open a Champagne Bottle
To make sure no one loses an eye, learn the right way to open a bottle of bubbly
I remember the year I opened my first champagne bottle. Knowing that a hurtling cork could hurt someone, I dutifully aimed the bottle over the sink — and proceeded to knock out the fluorescent light above it.
Considering how fast a cork can fly out of a highly pressurized bottle — 50 miles per hour, apparently — it’s no wonder a lot of people are a little scared of doing the deed. Injuries do in fact happen. "Uncontrolled champagne corks can lead to painful eye injuries and devastating vision loss. We don't want anyone to end up ringing in the year on an ophthalmologist's surgery table," writes the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
To make sure no one loses an eye, learn the right way to open a bottle of bubbly.
Most experts, and the American Academy of Ophthalmology, suggest this technique.
1. Make sure the bottle is well chilled before you start. (But never put it in the freezer.) The cork and the champagne itself are less likely to fly out of a cold bottle (and who wants to drink warm champagne, anyway?).
2. Peel off the foil over the top of the bottle. There should be a little pull-tab embedded in it to help. Don’t touch the wire cage yet.
3. Gripping the neck of the bottle, put your thumb on top of the cork. With your other hand, loosen but do not remove the wire cage. Some say loosening it requires six turns.
4. Put a towel over the cork and the bottle’s neck if you’re worried about spills.
5. Grip the top of the bottle and the cork. Instead of pulling on the cork, tilt the bottle up at a 45-degree angle — away from people and anything that might break — and twist the bottom of the bottle with your other hand, pulling gently downward if need be when the cork is almost out.
6. The cork will ease out of the bottle like a tired person easing out of chair. You should hear a soft pfzz, a mere whisper — not a dramatic pop — and you’ll still be holding the cork safely in your hand.
That’s all there is to it. If you drink, drink responsibly, everyone!
Related: Hosting a New Year’s Eve Party?