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Updated December 21, 2015
It’s a Napoleonic-era trick and, though not without its dangers, is still a fun party trick. Sabrage: cleaving off the very top of the champagne bottle with a sword. What swashbuckling fun!
Of Champagne, it was Napoleon who said of the sparkler, “In victory one deserves it; in defeat one needs it.”
The trick is to slide the spine of your blade — we used a Laguiole blade made specially for the stunt, as shown in the accompanying video — along the seam of the champagne bottle and clip off the top lip which, due to the pressure inside the bottle sends the wire cage and cork (and some glass, so be aware) hurtling into the air though with a minimal loss of bubbly.
People have performed the trick with hockey skates, the base of wines glasses, and even CD cases.
Good luck if you decide to try it — and be careful!
Happy New Year! And all the best wishes for 2016!