Each night at 6 p.m., just outside the Wine Room at the posh St. Regis Atlanta, something special happens. The hotel’s wine butler ceremoniously sabers a frosty bottle of champagne, a celebratory act that dates back to the days of Napoleon and the French Revolution. Wielding the sword at the hotel these days is Jennifer Sollinger, who recently shared the secrets to sabering champagne for anyone who wants to practice St. Regis’ time-honored tradition and add a little pop to their next party. By the way, you don’t need an actual saber to make it work; a large kitchen or chef’s knife will do just fine.
How to Saber a Bottle of Champagne
Step 1. Thoroughly chill the bottle in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours (anything warmer than 48 degrees and you’re bound to end up with a broken bottle).
Step 2. Bury the bottle, neck first, into a bucket of ice and chill for another 20 minutes.
Step 3. Remove the foil and unravel the wire cage. Hold down the cork with your thumb until you’re ready to saber.
Step 4. Look for the seams in the glass that stretch up both sides of the bottle. Choose one, and then hold the saber in one hand and the bottle in the other hand at a 45-degree angle.
Step 5. Place the dull end of the saber along the seam of the bottle’s middle section, and in one swift motion, aim for the neck ring—it’s more of a forceful push than an actual chopping.
If the thought of hacking at a glass bottle full of expensive champagne with a giant sword makes you squeamish, just head to the Wine Room at the St. Regis and enjoy the show.
The St. Regis Atlanta, located in the city’s tony Buckhead neighborhood, has 151 rooms, including 31 suites featuring St. Regis’ signature butler service. For more information or to book a room, visit www.stregisatlanta.com.