Happy New Year

There’s something wonderful about champagne, few drinks leave me with a similar emotional response. Perhaps this is because we save it for special occasions like New Years Eve, weddings and/or Sunday mornings. Perhaps there’s something in the bubbles. We may never know.

What we do know is that today is New Years Eve and a good chunk of us will (hopefully) be drinking a glass or three of champers tonight. If you’re not sure where to start I’ve got a couple tips I’ve picked up over the years. I wouldn’t (publicy) claim to be a professional champagne drinker, but there are a few things I do know about a fine bottle. My drill for New Years has seen everything form a small sip of champagne to last years debacle in my living room. Let’s just say it included a box of Summerhill Brut — my absolute favourite sparkling wine with these lovely small bubbles reminiscent of Dom Pérignon — a smoke machine, and that everyone involved is thankful we took spectacularly amateur photos with which we may “remember” the night.

I prefer a chilled bottle that, if not kept in the fridge, is chilled in a bucket with 70% ice and 30% water. If you’re in a hurry I’ve heard that throwing some salt on the ice helps a lot. It’s apparently faster than a freezer and a lot less dangerous if you’re forgetful.

The foil and cage are fairly straightforward but trivia buffs will be impressed when you tell them that it always takes seven turns of the neck wire to free the cage.

Now for one of the greatest lessons I have ever learned. Grab the cork with one hand and the bottom of the bottle with the other. Place the bottle at a 45˚ angle to maximize champagn-to-bottle surface area exposure. Turn the bottom of the bottle but not the cork. Keep a firm grip in the cork pushing against it. You don’t want an explosion but rather, something like a nun farting in a front pew.

Pour into glasses… slowly. Replace bottle in bucket.

Cheers, and a safe and happy New Years from A-OK!

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