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The restaurant wasted a purportedly $2,000 bottle of bubbly with some unsatisfactory sabering on New Year's Eve.

Mike Pomranz
Updated January 04, 2019

Look, sabering a bottle of champagne is clearly fun. You take a freakin’ sword and use it to pop the cork on a bottle synonymous with celebrations. The reason that’s enjoyable requires no further explanation. However, part of what makes sabering so intriguing is that it’s not necessarily easy to do, and with all the sabering fails that can now easily be found on the internet, it might be time to admit that trying such a stunt isn’t always a good idea.

Need more proof? Well, to use a bit of French, this video may be the piece de resistance of sabering fails. VinePair recently shared a clip of the general manager at French Laundry, Michael Minnillo, failing to saber a purportedly $2,000 15-liter “Nebuchadnezzar” bottle of bubbly. Yes, if even a highly-regarded member of a three Michelin-starred restaurant with the word “French” in its name ends up smashing a massive bottle of Billecart-Salmon brut, maybe you should reconsider your aspirations to saber a bottle of Taittinger with a sword you got as part of a childhood karate class.

Apparently, the failed sabering took place as part of French Laundry’s New Year’s Eve celebration earlier this week. And to be fair to any wannabe sabers out there, much of the blame lays on Minnillo himself. Though his technique appears to start off well as he feels for the bottle’s seam, after about three missed attempts of sliding the saber down the bottle, he turns to a less recommended move: chopping downward towards the cork out of frustration. Eventually, he catches too much of the neck, and the bottle explodes. Thankfully, the whole thing ends with laughs and a smile — despite the fact that the guy holding the bottle appears lucky not to have gotten sliced with falling glass.

Regardless, saber if you must, I guess. But at the very least, know the risks — both physical and financial.

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