On a special occasion there is nothing better than sharing a glass of champagne. They are the ultimate sign of a special occasion and the whole rigmarole of cooling them and opening them adds a sense of fun and excitement to any evening. At the same time though they also add a touch of class, and if you are trying to impress your visitors then this will make you seem like the perfect host and be a nice surprise. However if you then struggle to open the bottle, or accidentally fire it at one of your guests, then this can undo some of your good work and leave you looking generous and bumbling rather than like James Bond/the perfect host. Here then is how to open champagne safely.
First of all you need to remove the foil from the top of the champagne. To do this you will normally need to find the golden strip of foil around the top. This will have a flap where it is already coming away from the bottle and which will give you a start rather than jabbing at it with your fingernail for ages. Once you find this, peel it away carefully while turning the bottle. The top of the foil should now just slide off like a glove with nothing attaching it to the bottle.
In some cases however there will be no strip for you to peel. Here then you will need to get into the bottle yourself which will look more scruffy though there is a knack to it. Using the corkscrew on the bottom of a bottle opener, make a nick in the foil and cut a little way around the edge. Once you have cut enough you should be able to get hold of it and peel it back.
Now the fun part. Here you will have to pop the cork which will make a loud bang, scare a lot of the guests and likely spill froth all over your carpet. Fortunately there is a method to avoid killing anyone or smashing anything so get a cloth and drape it over the top of the cork. Now hold the neck of the bottle in your fist so that you are supporting the weight with the bottom of your hand (your other hand should also be on the bottom of the bottle), while your thumb and index finger are wrapped around the cork itself. Using this grip, lightly twist and pull the cork inside the cloth – the idea is to pop the cork so that it fires inside the cloth which should be pinned to the bottle. When you hear it pop you should still have your hand on the cork through the cloth. This way you can also keep the cork as a souvenir.
Pour the glasses out of the still steaming bottle. Tilt the glasses slightly as you do so that the champagne runs down the side of the glass into the bottom and does not create too much head.
• Always point the bottle away from yourself. Diagonally up and away is the normal posture (if you point it down you will lose your champagne).
• Also avoid pointing it at other people – even if you are confident you have hold of the cork.
• Do not shake your champagne unless you are outdoors and want to make a celebration of it. Bear in mind that this will waste a lot of the drink.
• Stand outside if you are concerned about the champagne overflowing – though a bonus of using the cloth method is that it will catch and soak up much of the overflowing champagne.