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Serving Champagne on a Yacht: the Do’s and Don’ts

DATE POSTED:December 6, 2018

The moment has finally come: you’re on boat! Surrounded by your closest friends and family, it’s time to celebrate, whether it’s a major life milestone or just the thrilling fact that you’re breathing fresh air and exploring the sea. And nothing gets the party started while setting a glamorous tone quite like the pop of a champagne cork and the fizzy, sweet goodness of flowing, sparkling wine from the Champagne region of France. But long before you take that first sip, there are a few things you and your group should consider. Read on for the dos and don’ts of drinking champagne on a yacht.

Champagne and yachts go together like peanut butter and jelly—just be sure you follow these do’s and don’ts to keep the bubbly flowing while onboard. Photo Courtesy: CharterWorld.

Don’t: Throw Bottles at the Boat—Unless It’s Yours to Christen!

Smashing a bottle of champagne against a boat became a big thing after since Queen Victoria christened the HMS Royal Arthur in 1891, and nowadays tossing a bottle over the bow is seen as a rite of passage to ensure good luck. To be clear, though, this tradition is only appropriate when it’s your boat that’s being named and christened, not when you’ve chartered a boat for the day.

Do: Chill Your Champagne

How delicious does a hot, sticky gulp of champagne sound? Not! Everyone expects champagne to be cold, ideally hovering around 47 degrees. The two best ways to achieve this: Place the bottle in the refrigerator for a couple hours, or in a proper champagne bucket filled with half ice, half water for about 20 minutes. This acrylic bucket on Amazon is highly rated thanks to its handles and large size, which gives you the option of chilling more than one bottle at a time. You could always chill your champagne in the freezer for about 15 minutes, but be careful not to chill it too long — no one wants their champagne frozen and stuck inside the bottle, only to later emerge with the consistency of a 7-Eleven Slurpee.

Don’t: Drop the Bottle on the Deck

Nothing will spoil your celebration like the sound and sight of shattered glass ricocheting all over a yacht deck, not only frightening and endangering everyone aboard, but ultimately killing the party buzz—at least until someone finishes cleaning up that mess of glass! Yes, be sure to handle your bottles with care. That means wiping down a slippery bottle to make sure it doesn’t slide out of your hands, only holding bottles only in areas with light foot traffic, and getting a tight grip on the bottle. And if you’re in rough seas, well, the last thing on your mind should be pouring a glass of champagne.

Do: Watch Your Aim with That Cork

The pop of a champagne bottle is music to everyone’s years, but the feeling of it hitting you in the face? Not so much. And it’s really not a joke: “More people are killed each year by flying champagne corks than bites from poisonous spiders,” wrote Jane Fryer for the Daily Mail.

The best way to avoid an accident is to take a pre-pop moment to anticipate where a champagne cork is going to land. Being cautious is especially important when you’re in a remote area, such as the middle of the ocean or several minutes away from shore, where medical assistance is not immediately available. As the saying goes, it’s all fun and games until someone loses their eye to a champagne cork. That’s why some people simply aim the bottle at the water. In addition to being safe, it’s fun to see where that cork lands!

Don’t: Use Glass Champagne Flutes

This is not a time to be picky about the glass from which you’re sipping. Sure, the Tiffany & Co. champagne flutes add a touch of classic, but save it for the mainland. Trading glass for plastic doesn’t mean you need to completely compromise on aesthetics, however. It’s 2018, and you’re one Google search away from finding the ideal plastic flutes. This 30-piece set on Amazon has a four-star rating and sells for under $14. At that price, you won’t feel bad about recycling them at the end of your voyage, and most importantly, you won’t run the risk of glass ruining your celebration.

Do you know what pairs great with champagne? Cheese! Don’t leave your guests hungry—be sure you have appetizers available to wash down their bubbly.

Do: Bring Enough for Everyone Onboard

We’ve all been at that party where there’s enough champagne for a big toast, and then all the bubbly is gone. Don’t be that host! According to Epicurious, “One 750-ml bottle of champagne fills five regular champagne glasses.” Author and dinner party pro Linnea Johansson figures that “some guests will have a couple glasses and some will have none at all, so it’s safe to estimate that guests will drink, on average, one glass of champagne each.” Don’t stop there, though, she advises: “Adjust this figure if you know you have a inordinate amount of champagne enthusiasts in your crowd.” All things considered, you should have on average at least one bottle per five guests, Johansson says.

Do: Bring More Than Champagne

Not everyone will drink champagne beyond that first toast, and given its sugar content, even the biggest champagne lover should avoid the headache-inducing hangover that comes with downing one too many glasses of liquid bliss. That means you’ll not only want to load up on enough beverages (especially water!) to responsibly satisfy everyone’s unique tastes, but also watch how many glasses of bubbly you’re indulging in and balance it all out with enough food. As it turns out, some of the most popular foods for yacht trips also happen to pair well with champagne. Among them, according to HGTV: cheese (think “aged, hard” varieties like parmesan, gouda and cheddar), “dessert that isn’t very sweet,” nuts, pasta with cream or mushroom sauces, and, of course, seafood!

You know what they say in Spain, “Salud!”

Do: Nail Your Toast

Winging it is for the mainland. Here at sea, it’s good to be prepared. So use your imagination and get creative with a toast that will set the tone for your beautiful day on the water. Remember, this is all for fun, so don’t let last-minute nerves make your champagne toast go flat. As Sally Hogshead—the New York Times bestselling author and renowned speaker—once said of speaking for an audience, “You don’t have to change who you are, you have to become more of who you are.” And what brings out your personality more than being on your yacht? Cheers!

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared on boats.com. Republished with permission.