The History of Champagne Sabering

The technique has seen a recent rise in interest from the young sommelier set, but its history dates back to Napoleonic times (though it’s unclear who first realized it’s an awfully good time to send your bubbles flying across the room).

During the French Revolution, the saber was the weapon of choice in the French army’s cavalry forces, and Napoleon and his troops were known for their love of Champagne in both celebration and defeat. While the verity of the stories can’t be confirmed, they’re certainly enthralling: A favorite has Napolean’s brutal Hussers charming a young and widowed Madame Cliquot with their displays of bubbly brute force while guests at her opulent estate.

Today, the iconically French tradition is kept alive by a formal order called the Confrerie du Sabre d’Or, or the Brotherhood of the Golden Sword. Though no Confrerie exists yet in the US, France, Britain, Malaysia, and Italy are all home to orders of the unique group (which does, despite the name, accept female members). Should you decide you’d like to be officially up for waving a sword around while imbibing, it’s around $50 for a certificate and a ceremony that gets you in the club. Disclaimer: Senior members of the Confrerie don funny gold and green bowler hats with Musketeer-esque capes. Just so you know what you’re in for.


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