DRINK How to break open the cham­pers the cor­rect way

The Herald Magazine - - etc BRIAN MAULE CHEF -

ITH crit­ics cit­ing this year’s

Wcham­pagne har­vest as “ex­cep­tional,” make sure you know your bot­tle open­ing dos from your don’ts.

Don’t serve it warm Make sure the bot­tle is per­fectly chilled be­fore you open it. The ideal tem­per­a­ture is 8-10C. If it isn’t cold enough, the pres­sure in­side the bot­tle will cause the cork to ex­plode and leave your friends diving for cover.

Cham­pagne pro­duc­ers want to make life easy for us, but some­times the tab on the foil doesn’t pull back. In­stead, reach for back-up and use a blade to re­move the foil cov­er­ing the cork.

Once the cage is loos­ened, with one hand on the cork and the other firmly on the bot­tle, start to ro­tate the base of the bot­tle while keep­ing a tight hold on the cork and cage. Keep twist­ing un­til the cork starts to ease out gen­tly with the bot­tle pres­sure. The slower the cork is re­leased, the more gen­tle the hiss­ing sound.

Don’t wave the bot­tle in the air Once you’ve popped the cork, keep the bot­tle at a 45-de­gree an­gle for a cou­ple of sec­onds so the fizz doesn’t spray all over the place and then slowly pour it.

PHO­TO­GRAPH: ALAN DON­ALD­SON

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