You’re entertaining guests or simply looking to indulge yourself. Either way, you’ll want to make sure that your Champagne tastes its very best. Furthermore, Champagne is not a cheap commodity and it would be a terrible shame to waste it.
Ensuring that Champagne is properly served only enhances the experience. This can be achieved with a little preparation prior to drinking it.
In this guide, you will discover the proper way to serve Champagne such as the correct temperature and ideal glasses. You can also visit our Champagne Homepage to learn everything you need to know about bubbly including the history of Champagne, how to choose a bottle, the best glasses and more.
How Do You Properly Serve Champagne?
- Plan Ahead Before Serving
- Open The Champagne Bottle Properly
- Pour The Champagne Carefully
- Number Of Servings In A Bottle
Although it might sound like a lot to remember, you’ll find it’s quite easy. In no time you’ll not only be impressing your friends but making the most out of your fine beverage with our guide. Simply click on the step above that you want to learn about or keep scrolling to discover it all.
1. Plan Ahead Before Serving
Before you crack open your Champagne, take a couple of steps back and think ahead. Make sure that you have everything you need and that you have time to make the proper preparations.
Prepare Your Environment
Before you crack open your bottle, think about the serving environment. Take certain factors into consideration such as lighting, temperature and smells. An ideal tasting environment is at a comfortable room temperature, clearly lit and well-ventilated.
Firstly, you want to be comfortable when drinking the Champagne. If you’re too hot or too cold, you won’t be able to savour the moment. Furthermore, it will have an effect on the Champagne’s temperature too.
Secondly, good lighting will be required to properly see the Champagne’s robe. Visible but not overwhelming light sources are useful to put the glass against and see how it diffuses through the contents.
Lastly and most importantly, a well-ventilated room ensures there are no stray smells that throw off your sense of smell. Consider what the room is for and how it may affect this. For example, if you’re in a crowded kitchen, smells from cooking, food and spices may distract you. Alternatively, if you’re in a crowded, stuffy room, people’s perfumes or body odour may throw you off too.
Have The Proper Glasses Ready For Serving
Always ensure that the glasses for serving the Champagne are properly cleaned and ready for pouring. There’s nothing more frustrating than popping the cork only to start panicking that no glasses are nearby.
Remember never to run your glasses through a dishwasher as this can leave traces of soap or limescale. It’s always better to hand-wash and then let them dry naturally away from heat.
On a related note, make sure that your glasses are not too warm nor too cold. They should only be cool to the touch.
If you want to learn more about getting and maintaining the best glasses for Champagne, head to our dedicated guide on the subject.
Serve & Maintain The Champagne At The Best Temperature
Above all, it’s important to plan ahead to ensure that your Champagne is at just the right temperature when serving it.
Serving Champagne that’s too warm creates an excess of foam and is alcohol-heavy on the palate. Conversely, Champagne that’s too cold lacks depth and buries the flavours.
Furthermore, every Champagne is best served at different temperatures. Whilst non-vintage bruts go well at around 8°C (46.4°F), mature cuvées are best enjoyed at a few degrees more.
Don’t forget that if there is fewer than around 5 people drinking the Champagne, you’ll need to ensure that it stays at the right temperature. There are plenty of solutions available including buckets, sleeves or simply putting it back into the fridge.
We recommend that you head to our detailed Champagne temperature guide to determine how cold yours should be served and how to maintain it.
2. How To Open A Champagne Bottle
Although popping a Champagne cork is satisfying, it can be messy and frowned upon in certain circles. Imagine trying to impress a date only to end up giving someone a black eye and getting covered in sticky Champagne.
Use the graphic below as a reference but be sure to follow the full guide afterwards too!
Properly opening Champagne preserves not only the beverage but the bubbles too. Follow the quick guide below to learn how to open a bottle like a pro:
1. Hold The Bottle Correctly
Hold the bottle at a 45° angle and pointed in a safe direction. Drape a napkin or cloth over the arm holding the bottle.
2. Remove The Foil
Usually the foil has a small yet visible tab, which will allow you to remove the foil completely with your free hand. Did you know that the foils used to be lead-lined to stop mice eating the cork?
3. Loosen The Muselet
You can loosen the wire cage or Muselet by simply unwinding the folded in key on the side. Around 6 half-turns should do the trick. However, don’t remove it completely. From this point on, make sure that you always keep a thumb pressed on the top to prevent an eager cork from escaping.
4. Prepare The Napkin
Place the napkin or cloth over the bottle’s cork. This doesn’t just add a touch of class but prevents spillage for cleaner serving. Make sure that once the napkin is in place, your thumb is back over the cork.
5. Turn The Bottle
Now hold the bottle firmly at the base whilst making sure it’s still at 45°. Start to carefully rotate the base and not the cork until it’s about halfway. Gently wiggle the cork if it needs a little help.
6. Let The Cork Whisper
As the cork begins to release, you’ll start to feel pressure on the cork from inside the bottle. Don’t just let it pop out but keep applying pressure and ease it out gently. The Champagne should “whisper” a satisfied sigh of effervescence as the cork releases.
7. Hold To Rest
Hold the bottle at 45° for a few seconds afterwards so the pressure releases without causing the Champagne to foam. Keep the napkin above the bottle to catch any overflow.
Take note that if the bottle comes out too easily, this could mean one of two things: either the Champagne was slightly too warm or it might be a bit on the young side. Still, too late now so enjoy it while it lasts.
3. How To Pour Champagne
Now that you have learned how to open a bottle of Champagne, the next step is to pour it! In order to accomplish this, you’ll need a steady hand and a touch of panache.
- Place your thumb in the depression at the under the bottle (the “punt”) and spread your fingers along its body.
- Hold a glass with your free hand at a 45° angle and pour down the side of the glass.
- Alternatively, pour only an inch (2.5 cm) in the bottom of each glass at first and let the head diminish.
- Either pouring technique will prevent a head of foam and reduce any bubble loss.
- Ensure that the bottle never touches the glasses as Champagne is often stored in dusty cellars.
- When you’ve finished pouring, give the bottle a quick twist to catch any drops on the lip’s edges.
On a final note, never fill a Champagne glass to the top. This prevents the aromas gathering in the glass’s bulb to create the aromatic bouquet. Instead, fill up to the widest point of the glass. This is usually about half-way and gives the wine enough room to breathe.
4. How Many Servings Are In A Bottle Of Champagne?
Champagne glasses can greatly vary in volume. However, it’s always a good practice to anticipate how many servings you will be able to pour until the bottle is empty. This could prevent embarrassment if the bottle dries up before having served everyone a fair amount.
Firstly, this depends on what will be considered a serving. A standard “champenoise” bottle represents 75 cl (25.4 Oz).
In a restaurant, 1 serving is legally considered 150 ml (5 Oz). This amounts to almost exactly 5 servings.
Nevertheless, ideally you are better serving a little shorter to be able to appreciate the Champagne’s aromas. Instead, serve at around 120 ml (4 Oz) and you’ll be able to stretch it to 6 servings.
However, if the occasion is ceremonial and features a toast, consider serving less. Amounts of 90 ml (3 Oz) will provide you with as many as 8 servings.
Knowing how to open a bottle of Champagne may initially feel like something obvious. However, mastering how to serve Champagne heightens the experience for everyone and helps create a luxurious ambiance. By taking the initiative to follow the above steps with even a budget sparkling wine, you will notice the difference.
Now that you have learned how to properly serve Champagne, consider exploring the different varieties and choose the right type for you. Alternatively, learn how to taste Champagne like a pro with our easy 4-step guide.