How to Open a Bottle of Champagne

Legend has it that Benedictine monk Dom Pierre Perignon, the namesake of one of the world's greatest Champagnes, once took a sip of sparkling wine and exclaimed, "I am drinking stars."

Champagne and its sparkling cousins are the beverage of choice for all kinds of celebratory occasions, but before you can clink flutes and say salut, you have to get the bottle opened.

Here's how the experts do it:

Step 1: Remove the foil and metal cage.

Tear off the thin foil wrap covering the bottle's cage (officially called a muselet, FYI) and cork. Then wrap your non-dominant hand around the neck of the bottle, place your thumb over the top of the cage to prevent an accidental pop-offs, and slowly unwind the twisted portion of the wire to loosen the cage. Another approach is to put a cloth napkin or kitchen towel over the cork and cage to trap the cork if it gets loose prematurely.

Step 2: Loosen and remove the cork

While still holding the cork and now-loosened cage firmly with your non-dominant hand, grab the body of the bottle with your dominant hand and slowly twist the bottle to loosen the connection. Work slowly, then with more purpose as the cork loosens. Once the cork is moving freely, use your non-dominant hand to pull the cork and cage away from the bottle.

Pro tip: You may be surprised to hear this, but a Champagne cork is supposed to come out with a light hiss, not a huge pop. It helps to quickly switch from pulling the cork to pushing it slightly as the pressure from inside the bottle tries to eject it.

Step 3: Clean and serve

Remove the cork entirely, then wipe the lip of the bottle to clean off any crumbled cork, foil bits, or other debris. Now you're ready to pour!