Ah, champagne! Delicious sharp, effervescent wine of celebration and excess! Weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, any excuse to pop off a cork and drink deep of that giddy bubbly goodness from France, the motherland of decent booze.
But occasionally, at the end of an evening of righteous excess you might find some champagne left in a bottle! No, seriously, it happens. The best way of dealing with this ‘problem’ is obviously to pour yourself a glass or two and toast the rising sun, possibly while drunkenly singing what you honestly believe to be opera.
If you’re some sort of idiot, however, you might want to store an open bottle of champagne. This is not recommended, as someone else might come along and drink it, but against this author’s better judgement, here are some tips.
It is possible to store an open bottle of champagne for a couple of days and still retain some of that trademark fizz, but the first step is to ensure that you opened the bottle properly in the first place. Unless you are showing off, the best way of opening a bottle of champagne is to hold it at about forty-five degrees, grasp the cork firmly and twist the bottle. This enables you to release the initial pressure gently and avoid releasing most of the bottle’s carbon dioxide (and most of the bottle’s liquid contents as well) in a huge arcing spray over everyone in the immediate area.
So assuming that the champagne is not half flat already, what are your options? Some will swear blind that you need to put a silver teaspoon in the neck of the bottle, as the silver will react with the carbon dioxide or some such other nonsense that fails to take into account the fact that silver is a singularly nonreactive metal. Others suggest using a standard wine stopper, possibly one with a rubber seal that you can push down to fill the bottleneck more snugly. Still more will advocate the use of plastic film, or a cork, or…
Forget it. The crucial thing is that you store an open bottle of champagne upright in the fridge. If you do that you should be able to retain some measure of fizz for around three days, regardless of what you put on the top (some people have even suggested it makes little difference if you leave it uncovered). Even once the fizz has faded to the point where you can no longer enjoy it as a celebratory sparkling wine, champagne can be used very successfully for white wine sauces and other cooking applications, as that slightly sharp flavour cuts through many dishes very pleasantly.
So remember, the best thing to do with an open bottle of champagne is to drink it, with as many good friends as possible. If you can’t drink another mouthful without dying, then put a stopper of your choice in the bottle and stick it upright in the fridge. If you can’t drink it within three days (WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?) then use it for cooking. But as this article has strongly hinted, champagne is meant to be enjoyed in the moment, so really this problem should never ever arise.