Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Pop the Bubbly

Since tonight is a very champagne-y holiday you should brush up on your champagne serving.

Chill to 40 or 45 degrees. 
The first step is to make sure the champagne is chilled correctly. According to Napolitano, the best serving temperature is about 40 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

Use an ice bucket. 
If you need to chill a bottle quickly, get a bucket, fill it with ice and water, and stick the bottle inside for about fifteen minutes. Never put a bottle of champagne in the freezer to get it cold, as it could explode. 

Turn the bottle, not the cork. 
Here's the trick to opening up a bottle of champagne: turn the bottle while holding the cork, rather than vice versa. Never use a corkscrew or cork pull like you would with an ordinary bottle of wine. The carbonation of the champagne creates pressure in the bottle that could send the cork flying across the room -- or into your eye.

Save the bubbles for the glass. 
Remove the cork carefully; you want to hear a soft, muffled pop. The softer the pop, the more carbon dioxide you preserve. And since the carbon dioxide bubbles are what make champagne special, you don't want to waste them by spraying foam all over the place locker room style. 

Serve in a tall flute. 
Serve champagne in a tall flute or tulip shaped glass. Pour only about an ounce into a glass and then wait for the rise of the bubbles to subside. Pour again, filling the glass about two-thirds full. Return the bottle to the ice bucket until you serve again. 

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