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Tomahawking Champagne for the Holidays

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© Lois Ellen Frank
The Basics for Tomahawking Champagne.

In Part II of my occasional series, Don’t Necessarily Try This at Home (Part I featured two-year-old vintage eggnog from Jonathon Sawyer of Greenhouse Tavern in Cleveland), I’d like to spotlight tomahawking Champagne as a potential holiday trend. I first heard about this from Holly Arnold Kinney, who owns the iconic Rocky Mountain restaurant The Fort, outside of Denver. Instead of the classic, and dramatic, French practice of “sabering” Champagne—hitting the bottle neck with a saber at just the right angle so the cork pops off—the Fort uses a tomahawk to do the same job.

In her cool new coffee-table book, Shinin’ Times at the Fort, Kinney goes into even more detail: “My dad taught his pal Julia Child how to tomahawk a bottle of Champagne, and later that week, she taught Jay Leno how to do so when she was a guest on The Tonight Show.... [but] the bottle Julia used was weak and broke all over the set! Although she grabbed a second bottle and tomahawked it perfectly, NBC decided to use the broken-bottle take to promote the show.”

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