Sabrage an Esterre – something special for your Valentine!

Sabrage an Esterre – something special for your Valentine!

The long “dry” January is at last over! It seemed like those 31 days would never end but it was perhaps a healthy reaction to the excess of the Christmas period.

Now we’re looking out across all the activities and work planned for 2016 whilst praying for a drier summer than 2015. The question we had was how to start the year off?

It was then that I remembered a party last year when I got a little carried away opening bottles of Esterre with a friend’s fencing sword.

Now the art of “Sabrage” (pronounced Sabbraaj) has been around for some time. It was a practice that became particularly popular with Napoleon’s officers celebrating their lightning military strikes across Europe over a couple of centuries ago.

The ceremony itself is an explosive and impressive affair and we thought perhaps a great way to celebrate with that special someone this forthcoming Valentine’s week-end.

So how does it work?

The act of sabrage entails the opening of a bottle of bubbly using the blunt edge of a sabre moving rapidly up the neck of the bottle and striking the lip surrounding the mushroom cork. The blunt edge of a large carving knife can work just as well. The correct strike and the pressure within the bottle will accentuate the stress concentration where the lip joins the neck of the bottle and create a clear break sending the lip and cork a distance of 4-8 feet.

I’ve posted a couple of links to videos showing how it’s done here.

So should this take your fancy, you can find Esterre at the following locations: Bradleys & Abbott’s Ale House in Cork, Blackrock Cellar, Baggot Street Wines, McHughs, Whelehans, Carpenters Off Licence, Cheers @ the Laurels, Cheers @ the Coach House, Deveneys Dundrum, Jus de Vine, Kellys Wine Vault in Dublin, Scallys Supervalu in Clonakilty, Supervalu, 1601 in Kinsale,.

Here is a step by step guide:

Firstly, ensure that any young people and pets are not in the vicinity. Secondly ensure that your special someone (or any other audience) is standing away from you and certainly not in the projectile path of the cork and lip. Thirdly, it is preferable to do this outside.

  1. Take one bottle of Esterre and thoroughly chill the bottle.
  2. Entirely remove the foil at the top of the bottle.
  3. Remove the metal muzzle.
  4. Take the bottle in one hand and angle it about 20 degrees above the horizontal.
  5. With your other hand, with the blunt edge in the direction of the top of the bottle, move the edge of the blade up and down the neck of the bottle a couple of times.
  6. Then retaining the edge of the blunt blade on the neck of the bottle move the sabre (or large carving knife) with a smooth, quick purposeful gesture up the neck of the bottle so that it strikes the lip with force. All being well the top should shoot off and some froth should follow.
  7.  Be sure to check that the break at the neck is clean and inspect the first glass you pour to ensure that there are no small glass shards.

Thereafter it’s plane sailing!

N.B. At the risk of stating the obvious, don’t drink directly from the bottle.

One final word of caution, you may find this a rather fun and addictive way of opening a bottle!

Please remember, if you choose to remove a bottle top in this fashion it should be done with care and caution. Using sabrage as a means of opening a bottle involves the use of potentially dangerous instruments such as knives and sharp edges. Please be aware that you undertake this activity entirely at your own risk and responsibility.