If you’ve never purchased champagne before and suddenly find yourself with a bottle you’re not sure how to use, don’t worry—we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about the proper way of storing and serving your champagne. Whether you’re an old hat when it comes to enjoying champagne and you just want to brush up your skills, or you’re new at this and want to learn how to best enjoy your bubbly, you’re sure to learn something you didn’t know before when you check out our information below. Take your time learning it and it’ll pay off when you pop open that bottle of champagne and enjoy it with friends or family.
• If a champagne or sparkling wine is left for too long in the bottle, it will go flat, no matter how well it’s stored. For this reason, you should serve your champagne fairly soon after buying it, and don’t plan to age it anymore after your purchase. Very rarely does champagne that’s aged for a long period of time actually stay good and retain its bubbles, so it’s better not to risk it. You can, however, store it properly for a little while after your purchase before you crack into the bottle.
• Store champagne in a cool, dry place. Keep it stored at room temperature until you’re almost ready to use it. Champagne should always be served chilled, so put it in the refrigerator 2-3 hours before you’ll be serving it for best results. Alternately, you can fill a bucket with one part ice to one part water and keep the champagne in the bucket for about 30 minutes to cool it before serving. This is the most common method of cooling champagne for serving and is a good solution for anyone who’s trying to serve in a shorter amount of time.
• High-quality vintage champagne should be stored at 46 degrees Fahrenheit for the perfect temperature. Others can be stored at 43 degrees Fahrenheit, and sparkling wines are a little less picky and can be stored as cool as 39 degrees Fahrenheit with no detrimental side effects. It’s usually a good idea to go ahead and drink the whole bottle of champagne after opening it, since it’s going to start losing its fizz right away and may be less than appetizing when it does so. The same is true of sparkling wines, although they may once again be a little more forgiving about this.
• Once your champagne has been opened, you can’t really store it in a way that will preserve the fizz. Some people believe using a champagne stopper will work, and others spread falsehoods such as using an upside-down spoon to keep the drink fizzy. Neither of these will actually keep any of the bubbles in the bottle, however, so don’t try to store the champagne after you’ve opened it for any length of time. The only real solution is to use the remaining champagne for cooking in sauces and reductions, but this may not be ideal if the bottle was pricey.
• To open your champagne bottle, hold the cork firmly in your fist and twist it. You may need to hold a towel over the bottle to do this without risking any breakage or damage to the bottle in the process. This will loosen the cork gently and will allow you to open the bottle without losing a lot of its signature fizz. Of course, it isn’t going to sound or look as dramatic as other methods of opening the bottle, but it is the best way to go about it if you’re trying to preserve the fizz as much as possible.
• A champagne coupe can add a retro, classy touch to the serving of champagne, but it’s really only ideal for very formal settings like a wedding or an extravagant formal party. Otherwise, it’s better to stick to the traditional champagne flute, which is better for sipping. The champagne flute also allows the bubbles in the champagne to work the way they’re supposed to and keeps them in the drink a little longer than the coupe does, making it more enjoyable for long-term sipping. Both glasses are great for preventing the heat of your hand from warming the drink too much.
• Most of the time, champagne is enjoyed on its own, as-is, without the need for mix-ins. However, you may find yourself with a cheaper bottle of champagne you’d like to use for another purpose, or you may just like the way champagne cocktails work. If this is the case, you might be interested in mixing up some cocktails to give yourself some new tastes to sample. Champagne cocktails usually feature the champagne as the star of the show and allow other ingredients to simply amplify the flavor or experience. They are light, simple, and delicious options that work nicely for a variety of events.
• Serving sparkling wine is not much different from serving champagne. However, since it is generally a lot more affordable, more people are inclined to try it in cocktails than champagne. Just keep in mind that the taste of sparkling wine may not always be the same as the taste of champagne, so substituting it may not work perfectly every time. Give yourself a chance to test run a few cocktails with sparkling wine and see which ones work out and which ones you might need to skip for your next party or gathering instead.
Did you learn a little something new about storing and serving your champagne? Now that you’ve expanded your horizons a little bit, you may be interested in buying some new champagne or branching out and trying a few things you’ve never tried before. Don’t forget to sample some champagne cocktails while you’re at it, and take your time trying different varieties of champagne as well. You may find yourself falling in love with this classic (and classy) beverage the more you give yourself a chance to experience it!