How To Open Your Bubbles Safely
Did you know that the average bottle of champagne (or other sparkling wine made in the "traditional method") is under 90 psi of pressure?* That's more than a car tire! The corks themselves can travel at a speed of up to 25 mph, leading to as many as 24 champagne-related deaths each year!
Not only will you look super cool and sophisticated when you know how to open those bubbles skillfully, you'll be doing a public service by doing it safely!
1️⃣ Start with a well chilled bottle that is not pointing at things and people you love. I like to leave the bottle in my refrigerator for 24 or more hours, but you can fast track that by putting it in an ice bath for 30-45 minutes.
2️⃣ Remove the foil from the neck, but leave the cage on. The cage is that metal wire mesh around the neck/opening.
3️⃣ Twist the "key" and loosen the cage but leave it on (for safety!) The "key" is that little round "handle" part of the cage that you're meant to twist to loosen the cage.
Remember: don't take the cage off, just loosen it. And while you're loosening it, keep a thumb pressed down on the top of the cage/cork to prevent an accidental pop. This is a two-handed job. One hand to hold the cage on by pressing down, the other hand to loosen it and untwist the key.
4️⃣ Wrapping your non-dominant hand around the cage and cork with a firm grip, and holding bottle at a 45 degree angle with your dominant hand (I like to grab it at the base), turn the bottle while holding the cork firmly. The cork will want to come out quickly, your job is to try and hold it steady with your non-dominant hand while turning the bottle! 🍾 If you apply enough backward pressure on the cork, you'll get a nice little "sigh" or "pffff" when the cork comes out.
Et voila! You did it! Now go out there and impress your friends with your amazing new skill!
* Footnote: There are several methods used for making sparkling wine. The traditional method (formerly referred to as "methode champagnoise") relies on a secondary fermentation in the bottle. This produces sparkling wine with significant pressure from the CO2 released. Other methods, such as the tank method used for Prosecco or the ancestral method used for PetNats, do not produce as much pressure. Opening the bottle when it's ~40F is safest to keep the CO2 well integrated and not explosive.