New Year’s Eve is in many ways a holiday dedicated to various sorts of pretensions. You pretend you own a tuxedo, you pretend you know how to drink, you pretend that you don’t mind spending a few hundred bucks on a night you may not even remember, and you pretend you still care about whoever you’re stuck kissing at midnight. What better way to round out all this pretentiousness than with sabrage, or the act of opening a bottle of champagne with a sword? You never seem to have any idea where that cork’s headed anyway!
The origin of the art of sabrage was probably the result of two things that it took European imperialists centuries to learn:
- If you’re going to invade Russia, you better bring a lot of booze.
- No one has time on the battlefield to fuss with butler service.
How To Do It Right
Given all the pretentiousness surrounding this tradition of whacking off the top of a champagne bottle with archaic weapons, there are probably few people more suited to explaining the whole affair than Alton Brown. I mean, the guy regularly wears a bow tie, and seems comfortable doing it. He uses lots of alliteration and words you don’t know, and explains some physics you won’t remember. As Alton points out, sabering a bottle of champagne may seem frivolous, but it makes a couple of things very clear (we’re paraphrasing Alton here) :
- You have a goddamn sword.
- You’re stupid enough to open champagne with it.
But let’s let Alton do his thing; he’s much better at it. It’s time again to stick your thumb in your punt and get crackin’ on that annulus!
How To Do It Wrong
Twice. On live television.
But I Don’t Have a Sword!
Don’t feel like such a loser over this. Most of us don’t. But that’s okay, you can do this with a freakin’ spoon:
But I Don’t Have a Spoon Either!
That’s okay, your 50 cal will work just fine too.