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 is a wonderful sign of celebration and victory, but when did this type of celebration first start? And, as many people would like to know – is it easy for you to do?

The Origins of Champagne Sabrage

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 the celebrations, 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

Sabrage events at the Grim’s Dyke are just wonderful! Not only will you try your hand at sabring, but you also get to enjoy 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!

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

Our next Sabrage evening is on Friday 5th July, for full details please see our Events Calendar here.

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

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