How to uncork a champagne bottle

Believe it or not, it has been reported that champagne corks kill nearly 24 people each year.

You wouldn’t want your wedding turning into a funeral.

Learn the simple and right way to uncork a bottle of bubbly.

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The bottle of champagne should be properly chilled to around 7-8 degrees Celsius. If it isn’t cold enough, the pressure inside the bottle will cause the cork to release very quickly. And that is when it becomes a safety hazard.

To quickly cool down your champagne bottle (and to keep cold bottles cold), use a mixture of 50% ice and 50% water. This liquid mixture ensures more of the surface area of the bottle is being cooled.

Although all champagnes have a tab to help open the bottle, most of the time the tab fails to make its way around the bottle leaving an ugly mess of excess foil. Cut the foil to create an even, clean line around the bottle so that once the foil is removed, the cork and cage are exposed.

When you remove the bottle from the ice bath, wipe it dry so that it doesn’t slip out of your hands.

Fold a kitchen towel lengthwise and put it over the cage and the cork to create a safety measure that can help prevent the cork from flying off.

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Untwist the cage anti clockwise, putting pressure on the cork to keep it from popping out prematurely.

Hold the bottle at a 45 degree angle. Untwist six times and then loosen the cage all the way around the bottle.

Twist the bottle not the cork once the cage is loosened. If you twist the cork, it can break inside the bottle.

Once the bottle starts to loosen from the cork and is able to spin freely, begin to slowly pull the cork away from the bottle.

Do this until the pressure in the bottle begins to push the cork out naturally. Once you feel the cork begin to move on its own, push against the cork gentle to keep it from releasing too quickly.

Listen for a quiet hissing sound. The slower the cork separates itself from the bottle, the gentler the hiss.

Now that the pressure of the bottle is driving the cork out, you can control how quickly the cork separates itself from the bottle.

Once the cork is removed, give the lip of the bottle a quick wipe and serve.

Cheers!

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History of the Cocktail

Every time you’re at a party, sipping a cool / colourful cocktail do you ever wonder about the first cocktail ever made?

Here’s one theory about the first cocktail.

In 1586, a fleet of English ships commanded by Sir Francis Drake was stranded near Havana. The ships were full of plundered gold but the crew were too sick to sail or fight.

According to the legend, Drake took local medicines such as mint (good for stomachs) lime (to treat scurvy), bark from the chuchuhuasi tree soaked in rum (a cure for dysentery), and cane sugar (to make it all taste OK), and mixed it all together. The resulting drink, dubbed El Draque, cured his sailors.

The word ‘cocktail’ comes into it because Drake’s crew allegedly drank this concoction from a long spoon with cock tail handle. Believe that? Well, it is just a theory. There is however a striking resemblance between the El Draque and the drink now known as the Mojito.

The other theory about the first cocktail came from the Americans.

America’s first cocktail, the Sazerac, was created in New Orleans in 1838, by Antoine Peychaud. He created the drink in a French Quarter bar and named it after his favourite French Brandy, Sazerac-de-Forge et fils. In 1873, the drink was changed when American Rye Whiskey was substituted for Cognac, and a dash of Absinthe was added by bartender Leon Lamothe, and today he is regarded as the Father of the Sazerac. In 1912, Absinthe was banned, so Peychaud substituted his special bitters in its place.

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Sazerac Recipe:

  • 1 cube sugar
  • 1½ ounces (35ml) Sazerac Rye Whiskey or Buffalo Trace Bourbon
  • ¼ ounce Herbsaint
  • 3 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
  • Lemon peel

Pack an Old-Fashioned glass with ice. In a second Old-Fashioned glass place the sugar cube and add the Peychaud’s Bitters to it, then crush the sugar cube. Add the Sazerac Rye Whiskey or Buffalo Trace Bourbon to the second glass containing the Peychaud’s Bitters and sugar. Empty the ice from the first glass and coat the glass with the Herbsaint, then discard the remaining Herbsaint. Empty the Whiskey/bitters/sugar mixture from the second glass into the first glass and garnish with lemon peel.

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