How To Open A Bottle Of Champagne

I have no idea how many bottle of champagne I have opened in my life. There is something about a bottle of champagne that is simply perfect. The stylish and elegant bottle shape and label (I have many an empty bottle to mark the special occasions they were drunk at dotted around my room at my parents house, they make such great ornaments, or even jewellery holders), the pop of the cork when you open it, and the deliciously light but rich bubbly smell it gives off. Champagne is also afforded the most glamorous of glasses to be drunk out of too; from the classic 1920’s open topped style to the tall and elegant champagne flute. The way to my mothers heart is through a good bottle of bubbly, and I think the same can be said for me too. 

veuve clicquot

Photo by Jamie Beck.

Bottles of Veuve Clicquot will feature heavily in illustrating this post, as it is one of my favourites, and I think the orange labels are particularly iconic. Looking back, the event that inspired this post was probably illegal, but I’m going to tell the story anyway. I was at an event, and one of the PR girls was trying to open a bottle of Prosecco, but she did not know how. Frightened of the cork, and it going everywhere she stepped outside with it for a moment (it is illegal to carry open containers of alcohol in public in America). She still was not having much luck, so, while 2 years under the legal age to consume alcohol in America, I stood there in the street and opened it for her. Anyway, I digress: this made me realise that quite a few people really don’t know how to open a bottle of champagne, something I feel is more criminal than my standing there with that bottle.

First, you tackle the obvious stuff, removing the foil from the top of the bottle (there should be a little pull tab, if not use a knife), and twisting open and pulling off the little metal cage that stops the cork coming off if the bottle is shaken too much etc. There is no guarantees even if you open a bottle properly that some won’t come instantly out the top the moment the cork is removed, so have a champagne flute to hand to catch any overflow. Hold the bottle by the base of the neck firmly in one hand, and gently twist the cork away from the bottle, making sure to keep it away from you, from anyone else near you and from and away from anything that an accidentally flying cork could break or damage. Pets for example. There are also quite a few people who do not know how to pour champagne  either. You slightly tilt both the bottle and the glass with the edge of the bottle against the glass. The liquid should run down the edge of the glass, so that too many bubbles don’t form a froth at the top. This is exactly how you pour a bottle of beer into a glass, too. Final and most important step: enjoy! 


Just because I think it is pretty, and it features Veuve Clicquot, I thought I’d include this wonderful recipe illustration by Damsel in Dior at the end of this post. She’s also put together a pretty great Guide To Champagne that is very informative about the different types, and what to serve them with. Swat up so you can impress with your knowledge about the differences between Demi Sec and Doux, or Bruit and Bruit Zero! 

What is your favourite type of bubbly?