The Art of Champagne Sabrage

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Sabrage demonstration

A Champagne bottle, cavalry sword and a celebration in full swing – what could be more ceremonial or flamboyant! Champagne sabrage has long been seen as a sign of celebration and victory, but when did this type of celebration first start? And, as many people are inevitably thinking – is it easy to do?

The Origins of Champagne Sabrage

It’s been reported that the tradition began with Napoleon’s infamous cavalry, the Hussars. To celebrate their victories across Europe, Napoleon encouraged them to drink Champagne and the art of sabrage was done to impress the local ladies. It’s also been reported that Madame Clicquot used to entertain the officers in her vineyard. After they’d ride off in the morning, using their sword to take out the cork in an act of flamboyance.

The Sabre

However, sabrage wouldn’t be possible, if it wasn’t for the sabre. This was the Hussar’s weapon of choice and became popular for them, just after the French Revolution. This type of backsword had a curved, single-edged blade. It became the standard weapon of cavalry for mounted action in most armies, until World War I. They were replaced with less curving blades and eventually, horse-mounted cavalry was replaced by armoured units. The sabre was then gradually relegated to more of a ceremonial weapon.

Today, Champagne swords are specially made for sabrage. They usually consist of a 12 inch long, blunt blade and resemble a large knife – although longer, more ceremonial blades are still used. Interestingly the blade must be blunt rather than sharp, as it is the impact that removes the bottle. An experienced sommelier will open a bottle with such skill as to lose very little of the champagne.

Sabrage Events at The Grim’s Dyke Hotel

In true historic fashion, Sabrage Evenings at the Grim’s Dyke consist of, not only trying your hand at sabring, but also drinking a wonderful amount of Champagne to celebrate your resulting victory! Sabrage evenings are the perfect event if you’d like to experience sabring, as well as enjoying the wonderful surroundings, fine wine, food and, of course, Champagne!

These evenings give you a change to try your hand at sabrage as well as enjoying fine gourmet dining, wine and Champagne.

Our next Sabrage evening is on Friday 30th June, for full details please see our Events Calendar – click here.

For further information, please call 020 8385 3100 or E-mail

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