How to Saber a Bottle of Champagne


A slightly different type of how-to topic for today—though it still involves swords! This past weekend we held a charity event at Academie Duello called Duelling with Cause. It featured a tournament, swordplay demonstrations, and a lot of cool audience participation.

One of the things that the attendees got to try out was sabering a bottle of champagne. Here is a video of one of our champions, Ben Davis, doing so with a bit of instruction from Peter Edwards.

This is one of the coolest party tricks that you can do with a sword (even a dull one!), so I thought I’d share it with everyone here so you can have some fun of your own.

How to saber a bottle of champagne:

  1. Make sure the champagne is extra cold. Particularly the neck. I recommend 20 minutes in the freezer (an already cold bottle) or neck down in ice for at least an hour beforehand.
  2. Remove the cage and foil (you’ll see in the video below that you can also just move the cage up).
  3. Find the seam of the bottle (runs from the neck all the way to the base).
  4. Hold the bottle in your hand with the seam up and the neck forward.
  5. Place the forte of your sword blade (close to your hand) onto the belly of the bottle on the seam. The sword does not have to be sharp!
  6. Place the blade at a 45-degree angle to the bottle. Press down into the bottle and then slide the blade forward, with speed, along the seam and down the neck.
  7. Strike into and through the lip that surrounds the cork. Continue the motion straight through.
  8. Voila!

Tips

  • Make sure the bottle is good and cold.
  • Ensure you have a constant downward and forward pressure into the bottle and through the lip as you strike.
  • You are not chopping the top off—you are disrupting the glass at the lip which causes the top to crack off. If you try to chop directly into the bottle you’ll most likely shatter it and put a lot of glass into the stuff you want to drink.
  • If you chip the lip you can make another attempt by sabering along the opposite side to the seam. If this fails, I recommend aborting your attempt and just opening it the old-fashioned way. Excessive striking into the lip of the bottle can make it explode.
  • Using a blade that has a bit of weight and substance to it can be useful, but as you’ll see in the video below if a bottle is appropriately chilled and your pressure is correct, you can do this with a butter knife, or even a spoon.
  • Do not drink directly from the bottle, or even touch the broken lip. It can be extremely sharp!

A cheeky but clear how-to video on “spooning” champagne:

How to Saber Champagne in Slow Motion

Now you can show your friends that your swordplay skills are absolutely practical in the “real world”!

devonboorman Devon Boorman is the Co-Founder and Director of Academie Duello Centre for Swordplay, which has been active in Vancouver, Canada since 2004. Devon’s expertise centres on the Italian swordplay tradition including the arts of the Renaissance Italian rapier, sidesword, and longsword, as well as knife and unarmed techniques.
Read more from Devon Boorman.