Open that champagne bottle the right way

December 26, 1990

Television and the movies often depict a dangerous practice, yet nary a voice is raised in protest. One supposes that with all the problems in the world, it is hard to get those pressure groups worked up about the improper opening of a bottle of sparkling wine.

And, in fact, if you try to open it as they usually do on the screen -- pushing the cork with your thumbs -- you'll probably just wind up with a couple of broken thumbnails and an unopened bottle.

Actually, though, the cork on a bottle of Champagne or other bubbly should be treated with appropriate respect. It's in so tightly because it holds back a great deal of pressure and thus can launch itself out of the bottle at put-an-eye-out, window-breaking speed and force.

But all too often, people get so frustrated trying to get the cork out that they do end up with this projectile flying off dangerously.

There is a painless and safe way to go about opening a bottle of bubbly. First, drape a dish towel or other cloth over the neck of the bottle, covering the cork. Grab the cork tightly through the towel which will help you get a better grip.

Then, aiming the bottle in a safe direction, hold the cork still and, with your other hand, twist the the bottle back and forth, gently pulling the cork upward. Usually, it pops out quickly and easily with a minimum of fuss and spllage.

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