Ever since I was hit between the eyes with an elastic band as a child (one of those big fat ones...the elastic band I mean, I was rather slender), I've been afraid of flying objects. I suspect this is why I duck for cover whenever anyone opens a bottle of champagne.
Did you know that the number one New Year’s injury in France is caused by flying champagne corks to the eye? I kid you not. A champagne cork leaves the bottle at a velocity of approximately 38-40 mph, but has been clocked at speeds as fast as 100 mph.
The last thing you want is to get hit in the eye with a cork torpedo and have to wear an eye patch for the remainder of the night, exclaiming, “Happy New Yarrrrrrr!” at midnight (read that in a pirate voice).
Bottles need to be corked properly to avoid injury AND to prevent spillage. Wasting champagne is no joking matter. Here’s how to open a champagne or sparkling wine bottle safely:
Remove the foil from the wire cage around the cork. Twist the tab while holding down the cork with a kitchen towel. Tilt the bottle away from you (and others) at a 45-degree angle to allow space for expansion of the bubbles. Then, with the cloth still over the top of the bottle, grasp the cork with one hand and gently twist the bottle (not the cork) with the other. Let the pressure in the bottle gently force out the cork and the cork should ease out of the bottle gently, without an explosion.
Here’s a video demonstrating how to properly open a champagne bottle...for those who need a visual.