What is Sabrage?

Sabrage: the opening of a champagne bottle with a sword

Opening a bottle of champagne with a sabre is a time honored art and tradition, started by Cavalry Officers in Napoleon’s army in the late 1700's.

 The History as quoted from Wikipeda

This technique became popular in France when the army of Napoleon visited many of the aristocratic domains. It was just after the French Revolution and the sabre was the weapon of choice of Napoleon's light cavalry (the Hussars). Napoleon's spectacular victories across all Europe gave them plenty of reason to celebrate. During these parties the cavalry would open the Champagne with their sabres. Napoleon, known to have said, "Champagne! In victory one deserves it; in defeat one needs it." may have encouraged this.

There are many stories about this tradition. One of the more spirited tales is that of Madame Clicquot, who had inherited her husband's small Champagne house at the age of 27. She used to entertain Napoleon's officers in her vineyard, and as they rode off in the early morning with their complimentary bottle of Champagne, they would open it with their sabre to impress the rich young widow.

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