Wine for All

3 Tips for Buying and Serving Bubbly

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If you ask me, it's always the season for bubbly. It turns even the most casual get-together into an occasion and every occasion into a celebration. Your boss didn't drive you crazy today? Celebrate! The baby slept through the night? Celebrate! It's your weekly dinner date with your friends? Celebrate!

Convinced? Good. Here's what you need to know about buying and serving bubbly.

How Much Bubbly to Buy (aka Bubbly Math)

Figuring out how much bubbly to buy isn't rocket science. It just requires a little bit of math: One bottle (750 milliliters) is about 25 ounces. One flute holds about five ounces. So, one bottle fills about five flutes.

Tip: When buying it for a toast, smaller pours are the norm, so you can easily get six to eight toasting pours from a bottle.

How to Serve Bubbly

Sparkling wine is best served chilled, but try to avoid the quick-chill-in-the-freezer thing, which chills it very unevenly. This can also be dangerous because if you leave it too long it can explode. It's better to plunge the bottle in a bucket of ice, or — best-case scenario — stick it in the back of the refrigerator for at least 45 minutes before drinking.

As for drinking glasses, there's a reason Champagne is traditionally served in long, tall, elegant flutes: the shape helps preserve the bubbles, and also shows them off. Having said that, I have never yet been punished by the sparkling wine gods for serving bubbly in a wine glass. And there are some who would argue that a wine glass is the right glass.

How to Open a Bottle of Bubbly (Without Taking Anyone's Eye Out)

It's easier than it seems: Place one hand flat over the top of the bottle while you use your other hand to untwist the wire cage. As you do that, the carbonation in the bottle will begin to push the cork up. Keep one hand on top and slowly let the cork loosen upwards. It should sound like a "nun's sigh" and not a firework as the pressure releases.

Are you planning to pour bubbles this holiday season? What's your go-to bottle?