Sabrage is the technique of uncorking of a Champagne bottle using the singular, suave flash of a sabre, and it’s a lot easier than one might suspect. Guests visiting The Milestone Hotel & Residences are invited to try their hand at the art before enjoying the sparkling fruits of their skill in a sophisticated period setting. Here, we talk to the manager of Cheneston’s Restaurant, Agustin Gigirey Cabo, about how we can learn the art of sabrage.
How does sabrage work?
“When performed on a suitably chilled bottle of Champagne, the cork and the severed glass annulus are ejected, spilling little of the precious wine. The pressure of the Champagne always ensures that no glass falls back into the bottle – so it’s perfectly safe to sip.”
How did you learn to master this exclusive skill?
“Julian White, a master of the art of sabrage, is a regular guest at our hotel.”
Can anyone learn how to accomplish the sabrage ritual?
“Absolutely. It can seem daunting when you are initially given a sharp sabre in one hand and an elegant bottle of Champagne in the other, with the expectation that you will sever the top of the bottle with the sword’s blade. But don’t be put off. It’s as simple as it looks.”
What are your tips for success?
“All that is needed is a firm wrist and a high elbow – and you’ll be back at your table regaling your fellow guests with tales of how easy it really was.”
What can we expect from The Milestone Hotel’s Art of Sabrage experience?
“The Maître Sabreur will recite the following verse as soon as an individual has completed the act of sabrage:
‘Congratulations by this, your first sabrage, you have opened the door for yourself to our Confrérie. Excellently, you have removed the top from the bottle that imprisons the great wine of Champagne.’
The sabre will then be placed on the candidate’s right shoulder and lifted over the head to the left shoulder. While the Maître Sabreur says:
‘In the name of Noah, father of the vine, and of Vincent the Patron Saint of Vignerons, I hereby create you a Sabreur of the Order of the Confrérie du Sabre d’Or’.”
Do you have a favourite Champagne?
“Lanson – a brilliant straw colour, with hints of amber and a fine stream of persistent bubbles. The nose is vibrant with hints of toast and flowers, leading on to a palette of citrus and ripe fruits. It is just delicious and ultimately quaffable on its own or with light fare such as grilled fish, prawns or salads.”
Which dishes pair well with the Art of Sabrage package?
“Definitely fish and prawns and crayfish, smoked Scottish and Irish Salmon in particular. We do these superbly at Cheneston’s, carved at your table.”
Try something extraordinary; partake in an Art of Sabrage package at Red Carnation Hotels’ The Milestone Hotel & Residences.
Image credits: lead image © Red Carnation Hotels. Sabrage © iStock/DewaldKirsten. Champagne on ice © iStock/webphotographer. Sword © Red Carnation Hotels. Glasses of Champagne © iStock/webphotographer.