Sunday, 1 March 2009

Close shave with a new blade!

I finally tried out the saber Lenell Smothers gave me ages ago. I've sabered Champagne bottles with a Coast Guard parade sword, a cleaver (many many times), a chef's knife, a dinner knife, the handle of a soup spoon, the heel of a pint glass (nothing like a pint of Perrier Jouet at the end of a sweltering summer evening shift behind the bar). But as many times as I'd seen these purpose-built Champagne sabers, I'd never tried one. Until now. 

The bottle had rested in the fridge for a couple of weeks, so I was confident it wouldn't explode. Ago Perrone, bartender at London's Connaught Hotel was mixing with me. We'd had a round of Martinis made with Gancia Bianco and Regan's Orange Bitters. This round I wanted to try a variation on the classic Champagne cocktail.

When I stepped to the door with the bottle and cutlass, Ago started laughing. He kept laughing even as the neck came away from the bottle in one swift motion with less than half a glass lost. He said Italians think this French custom is a bit showy and silly. 

Then we broke out the Hine 1976, brown sugar infused with a hint of ginger as I'd recently made a batch of candied ginger,  and Regan's (again). Filled with the Blason Rosé, topped with a lemon twist, it made a memorable cocktail. Thanks Lenell!

[Sabering disclaimer: this is a very dangerous activity. Don't try this at home. This goes double for any attempt to saber a cava or American domestic sparkling. Those are generally packaged in saber-proof bottles.]


  1. I've been meaning to give sabering a try some time, but haven't yet. Didn't realize that it should only be attempted with true French Champagne, glad you told me! :->

  2. its very easy ... if you know the trick.

    I dodn't use a "sword" or knife ... I use a fine Champagen Glass to saber the bottle. It only works with well chilled, rested french champagne. And the Glas stays fine. You have to sratch a little bit on the seam/stitching of the bottle ... then it work "on his own"