Entertaining, Tips, Timesavers & Troubleshooters

Essential New Year’s Eve Champagne Tips & Tidbits

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champagne sabre mumm
How to open a bottle of Champagne…without a sabre. (Image from www.mumm.com)

I recently published a Champagne themed post regarding chateaux-style dining, complete with a Champagne pairing for each course.  As a continuation of a favorite subject of mine and with the contribution of Henri’s Reserve, I offer this ‘Part Deux’ New Year’s Eve preparation.  (As you know, it is no secret that I love, no adore, Champagne.  My Maine Coon cat is appropriately named Clicquot; as my husband said when we brought our kitten home, “She’s light and bubbly, and lives in a French house.”)

New Year's Eve Champagne How-tos
Pull up a muselet chair & let’s talk Champagne. Bottoms up!

This Champagne-themed missive offers essential New Year’s Eve Champagne Tips:

  • Estimate quantities for a party
  • Chill bottles in a ‘Champagne emergency’
  • Open Champagne  ~ without harming guests, chandeliers, or artwork
  • Pour while maintaining the bubbly texture
  • Serve in style
  • Pair with two super-easy, delicious smoked salmon party recipes
  • But that’s not all!  An ‘FOB’ perk: a special offer from my favorite on-line Champagne resource, Henri’s Reserve

“Come quickly, I am tasting the stars!”
~Dom Perignon at the moment he discovered Champagne

Champagne Tips: Quantities, Chilling, Opening & Serving

Quantities & Chilling

  • Each bottle equals five to six flutes.  This , plus knowing your bon vivants’ imbibing habits, will help estimate the number of bottles.
  • In an emergency (yes, there is such a thing as a “Champagne emergency”), you can quickly chill the Champagne in an “ice bath”, an ice bucket half full with ice and half with water, for 20 minutes before serving.
  • Non-vintage Champagne is at its finest when served at 43-48°F and vintage Champagne at 53-57°F.

Opening a Champagne Bottle 101

  • Point bottle away from objects of importance (such as the chandelier, artwork, your guests).
  • Remove the muselet (the wire caging around the cork; you can make a little “chair” out of this  later—see opening image for inspiration).
  • Cover cork with tea towel.
  • Hold at 45 degrees and slowly turn the bottle (not the cork).
  • A gentle sigh vs. explosion, please.
Image from Globe-Views.com
New Year's Eve Champagne How-tos
How darling is this Margaine muselet cap? I love the painting of the estate!

Serving Champagne

  • Place the glass on a table, or ask someone to hold it for you.
  • Place your right hand at the base of the bottle with your thumb placed into the depression on the bottom (called the punt) and balance the front of the neck on the side of the glass, supported by your left hand.
  • Tilt the glass to its side and pour the wine onto the side of the glass, not onto the base.  This reduces the speed at which Champagne hits the base of the glass, thus maintaining the bubbly texture.
  • Wait till the bubbles subside and then continue pouring to fill the glass – this may take up to 4 or 5 pauses.
  • Twist the bottle as you remove it from the side of the glass to remove any remaining Champagne on the edge of the bottle. (We don’t want to miss a drop of this tasty goodness!)
LN Dinner Rose
Oh this rosy rosé!
champagne cheers
How to keep bubbly bubbly.

A Special Offer

My husband is prone to say when referring to spirits, “A good value always tastes better.” Cue Henri’s Reserve and the vintners of the Champagne region of France. Quite simply, these boutique vineyards produce a champagne every bit as drinkable as the massive more well-known neighbors but produce in small quantities (hence “boutique”) — and don’t bear the burden of heavy marketing costs. Consider this your private in-the-know resource — tres chic, n’est-ce pas?

4 Champagne Coupe Glasses - Shallow Bamboo Stem
I adore sipping Champagne from vintage crystal coupe glasses; aren’t they so lovely perched on this silver tray? This set (and others like it) can be found on Etsy.com.
Pretty, Set of 6, Vintage Scroll Etched Champagne Glasses, Twist Stem
Some of my favorite coupes are etched crystal from the 1930’s. Here is a lovely set also on Etsy.com.
William Yeoward "Helena" Champagne Flute
William Yeoward creates gorgeous flute options. This one is available at Scully & Scully. Additional options available at Tiffany & Co., as well.

For our dear Champagne connoisseurs: Henri’s Reserve, purveyor of fine French family estate Champagnes, offers Private Newport readers a tasty incentive ~ use coupon code “Bettie” for a complimentary 10%  off your order.  Click here.

Two quick & tasty smoked salmon recipes 

Next to caviar (which can be a bit pricey), a light “just a bite” smoked salmon is the perfect pairing with champagne — its smoky taste a great counterpart to the fruitiness and fizz of champagne.  And these hors d’oeuvres are easy to assemble so you can do them when you’re in a time crunch.

A gathering featuring Champagne and smoked salmon.

Smoked salmon on toast is traditionally topped with minced onion.  While it packs a lot of taste, the minced onion tends to slip onto the floor — or down the front of your dress.  The answer to this age old dilemma: mix the diced onion in with cream cheese or butter and spread a thin layer over the bread before cutting it into small pieces.

And here is another smoked salmon recipe ~ it is even easier and supplies an even bigger ‘wow’ factor.

Bettie's spoonful of salmon
Here’s a “new take” on the old standby of smoked salmon on toast. Easy & delicious: smoked salmon with a good dollop of crème fraîche, a spot of caviar and a snip of fresh dill. So easy to eat from a spoon.

Santé and…

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About Bettie Bearden Pardee

Author of Private Newport and Living Newport, garden furniture designer (The Parterre Bench), national lecturer, and entertaining expert. An honoree for the second year on "The Salonniere 100 America's Best Party Hosts", she was also the host and creative producer of "The Presidential Palate: Entertaining at the White House".

8 thoughts on “Essential New Year’s Eve Champagne Tips & Tidbits

  1. Dearest Bettie! From a fellow aficionado of Champagne , check this out for maintaining the mousse (or fizz) of an opened bottle…The Chef onboard ENTICER taught me this: Take an ice tea spoon, hold it upside down into the neck of the bottle…supposed to maintain froth…Does it work for you?? XXXX
    P.S. Just loved this blog, but they ALL are so fabulous !

    1. Thank you, Jane, for adding one more relevant tip to my champagne collection. And I believe I was on the Enticer with you that time….
      Happy, Happy to you and himself.

  2. Bettie I adore champagne!! My maiden name is Roederer and the producers are distant relatives in France who never send us champagne!! Oh and my friend Andrea (the French Basketeer) opens champagne with a saber, I love watching her do it, quite festive!

    Happy Holidays and all the Best in the New Year!
    The Arts by Karena
    Inspiration & India Hicks Sale!

    1. MMmmm, we must meet for sure if your maiden name is Roederer!Thanks for your always kind words; it’s good to hear from you. Happy, Happy and good health in 2015.

    1. Thanks so much. And just wait ’til you see the seasonal offerings in early 2016! Happy New Year.

  3. My mother is a believer of the spoon trick. Though she told me, however, that it has to be a silver spoon. Myself, I’ve always been too afraid to chance it – and let good bubbles go to waste? Never! Instead I use the simple method told to me by my mother’s mother… My grandmother said to simply take a piece of Saran Wrap and hold it over the neck of the bottle then carefully wrap the rubber band around it so that the air and the bubbles are trapped inside. It works like a charm! I’ve kept my bubbly effervescent using this technique for as long as 36 hours after the bottle has been opened. In case one doesn’t have any Saran Wrap or rubber bands, I recently read someplace that Champagne does wonders for one’s hair!!

    1. Now that’s a new one for me…I’ll give it a try tomorrow night, because I plan to drink those bubbles, not use them for my hair!

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