What is champagne sabering? The history and the myths.

The often forgotten, and incredibly underrated, art of champagne sabering can often leave us wondering how it’s done and where this tradition comes from. The story of champagne sabering continues to be passed down, and although it may only be a legend, this doesn’t make it any less interesting.

What is champagne sabering and where does it come from

Champagne sabering: what is it?

Sabrage, or sabering, is a technique of uncorking champagne that involves striking the lips of the bottle by sliding the blade of the champagne sword or sabre. Champagne swords for sabering come with different styles and materials and are a popular collectors’ item. The blade of any champagne sabre is blunt and this is because when uncorking a bottle in this way, such as a Champagne Veuve Clicquot, you don’t need sharp edges but instead the right amount of pressure, precision and chemical reaction inside the bottle.
Napoleon was quoted to have said 'Champagne! In victory one deserves it, in defeat one needs it!'

The history of champagne sabering

The sabering technique is said to have become popular during the time of the Hussars when Napoleon Bonaparte visited aristocrats in Europe after the French Revolution. Famously, Napoleon was quoted to have said “Champagne! In victory one deserves it, in defeat one needs it” and it’s not hard to imagine either him, or members of his cavalry, sabering a bottle of bubbly atop a horse after a great defeat. Legend has it that as the soldiers rode home after battle, townspeople would toss them bottles of champagne. Of course, Napoleon’s victories soon became defeats and this may be where the latter part of his quote rings true. We may not ever know the true history of champagne sabering or where it really came from. Champagne itself is steeped in legends and myths that will continue to be passed down. After all, the Benedictine monk Dom Perignon may not have been the “inventor” of champagne, but that doesn’t make his famous quote any less romantic – “Come quickly, I am drinking the stars.”