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Common mistakes and how to avoid them

It’s a sad fact that when it comes to serving and enjoying Champagne, the biggest mistakes people make are also the most common. Here are a few examples, some of which go over ground covered elsewhere on this site.

Don’ts when chilling Champagne

Do not over chill Champagne. Serving it too cold is almost worse than serving it warm. Fill the ice bucket to capacity with a mixture of ice cubes and water and make sure the bottle is fully submerged or you will wind up chilling only half the bottle.

Do not try to chill two bottles in a single-bottle ice bucket. Too much of the second bottle will stick out. Far better to leave the second bottle in the refrigerator, or in an insulated bottle bag if the bottle is already chilled.

Do not chill the glasses ahead of time by filling them with ice cubes or crushed ice. It will only detract from the quality of the bubbles and the overall enjoyment of the Champagne.

Don’ts when serving Champagne

Do not hide the label by wrapping the bottle in a towel like a newborn baby. It’s a deplorable habit that started in night clubs as a means of selling cheap Champagne at inflated prices. By all means wipe the bottle as you remove it from the ice bucket but otherwise avoid the use of a towel altogether when pouring Champagne.

Do not replace the empty bottle upside down in the ice bucket. It shows a complete disregard for the quality of the Champagne but also the tasting sensibilities of your guests.

The Champagne whisk

The whisk, or swizzle-stick, is Champagne’s worst enemy. Nothing flattens the hard-won bubbles in Champagne faster than stirring with a swizzle-stick: in just 30 seconds you will have destroyed three years’ work and knocked the sparkle out of your bottle.

It’s a real mystery why anyone would want to drink their Champagne flat, particularly since the bubbles don’t just taste good but actually do you good.