How to Serve and Drink Champagne
Champagne or another sparkling wine is often the drink of choice at major celebrations like New Year's,weddings, anniversaries, and homecomings. But few people are taught how to serve and drink it properly. Here are some tips on how to have the best possible experience with champagne.
Keep Champagne Chilled
Champagne needs to be chilled. Warm champagne has nothing like the flavor of chilled. Keep it in the refrigerator for three or four hours before it is needed or in an ice bucket in a water and ice mix for about 30 minutes. After opening, keep it in a champagne or wine bucket with ice - with a stopper to keep the fizz in if you'd like. (Some experts say it's fine without a stopper, though, so don't worry about it if you don't have one.)
Open Carefully and Don't Pop the Cork
Open the bottle very carefully. Hang on to the cork firmly - don't let it fly. Champagne corks are not supposed to pop; popping can harm the structure and taste of the champagne. Remove the foil and the wire cage while keeping a thumb firmly on the cork. Wrap a dish towel around the top of the bottle and grab the cork in one hand (on top of the towel) and the base of the bottle in the other hand. Hold at a 45 degree angle pointing away from everyone and slowly twist the bottle until the cork gently slides out - with no pop.
Pour into Room-Temperature Flutes
Serve the chilled champagne in room temperature flutes or tulip-shaped glasses because these concentrate the bubbles and aroma. Tilt the glass being filled to minimize the foaming head. Pour about an inch into each glass first. Once the froth has settled fill each glass to about two-thirds full.
Hold by the Stem and Sip Slowly
Hold the flute or champagne glass by its stem to avoid warming the champagne. Sip your champagne, don't gulp it; it's not a race. Champagne is expensive and should be savored. Don't forget to enjoy the aroma, too.
Don't Rush Refills
In smaller settings it is a nice practice to offer refills before a glass is empty. But don't try to get people to drink more than they should! Every one should be sipping slowly for maximum enjoyment.
Short and Sweet Toasts are Best
Unless you have an official role at the ceremony, keep your toasts short and sweet. Clink glasses carefully so nothing breaks and nothing spills. Enjoy the occasion and the company of friends and family. And be responsible - the sign of a mature adult.