Drinks

A Magical Trick for Keeping the Sparkle in Your Sparkling Wine

September  3, 2015

As long as you have a metal spoon, you don't have to worry about finishing the whole bottle of bubbly in one night. 

I come to you today to tell you about something magical. I find it magical for several reasons, the first and foremost being that it has to do with Champagne—or really, any sparkling wine at all. And, anything having to do with sparkling wine I find naturally has a certain allure and sophistication. It is immediately something I want to know about because sparkling wine—in any guise, be it a flute, a coupe, a cocktail, a spritz—is one of my very favorite things to drink.  

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It's second only to water and coffee, which I guess technically makes it third. But it's first in my heart, even if it's third in the pecking order of necessity for functioning. Along with all other sane people, I turn toward a regular rotation of Aperol spritzes and sparkling rosé during the stretches summer that are most sun-soaked and Mediterranean.

And the rest of the year, I keep a bottle of sparkling wine on hand at all times just in case there is something to celebrate or a bad day to shake off, which, let’s face it, there is at least a couple times a month.

But, here is the trouble with sparkling wine: It is sparkling, and if you don’t drink the whole bottle, then you need one of those super-complicated-snazzy-multi-part-hinged-top-with-pump-attached-thingamadoos if you want to store the remainder of your bubbly beverage so that it doesn’t go flat and subsequently to waste.

...Or do you?

Here comes the true magic: You don’t. All you need is a spoon. I learned this trick at least 9 or 10 years ago and have been using it quite effectively ever since. No one else I have shared it with has known about it already or has even remotely been able to explain it. Thus, magic.  

Today I share it with you, and if you can explain it, well, I’m not sure I want to know. This is the trick: All you have to do is dangle a spoon, bowl side up, handle hanging down, in the top of the open sparkling wine bottle and leave it in the fridge.  

Seriously.  

That’s it!!!!  

No other closures, no nothing, just a dangling spoon. I feel stupid even saying it. But, it works.  

It works best with a silver spoon (because all magic works best with silver), but I have also had it work just fine with a plain old stainless steel spoon. Plastic, on the other hand is no dice. The handle doesn’t need to be touching the liquid or anything (if it is, you clearly haven’t had enough of your wine and probably should have at least one more glass). You just dangle the spoon in, refrigerate, and leave it. It has not worked 100% of the time, but over the last decade of regularly drinking sparkling wine, and regularly taking multiple days to make my way through the bottle, I think it has only not worked three times.  

That’s a dang fine performance. If I have an open bottle of sparkling wine, it routinely takes me at least 4 days to finish it if I don’t have someone else sharing it with me (what can I say, my husband stereotypically prefers beer. P.S. This has also worked for us with large bottles of beer we didn’t finish in one sitting, those fancy Belgian-types, for example). If I dangle in a spoon, the wine is still fizzy on all three consecutive extra days when I pour myself a glass. 

So, pour yourself a glass of bubbly—and grab a spoon so you can save the rest—because this is a trick worth celebrating.

First and second to last photo by Emily Vikre; all others by James Ransom

34 Comments

Steve H. October 9, 2017
I'm a sommelier who opens a bottle of sparkling wine and if it's not finished by bed time then it only deserves one option: a champagne cork stopper that seals in every precious bubble remaining in the bottle. It's the same as any bottle of wine, once exposed to oxygen, the pleasurable effect of what's in the juice has a limited life. Sparklers especially succumb quicker because CO2 has a very short shelf-life. Invest in a champagne cork saver, a sealed stopper that will save every single bubble remaining if you're too lame to finish a bottle after opening.
 
TaffyDownUnder October 9, 2017
You do know this is a myth right?<br />https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/sparkling-wine-teaspoon-myth/
 
Betsey October 9, 2017
Yes, literally 40 other people have said that.
 
Kathy B. October 8, 2017
Would you be so kind as to explain the science behind it. In other words, explain why it works.<br />
 
Mark T. July 18, 2017
Someone like ATK did a comparison, and just leaving the bottle uncorked in the fridge has the same effect.
 
Ann R. September 27, 2016
Ummmm...4 days to drink a bottle of Champagne?
 
Shannon R. July 16, 2017
Right?!😉
 
Ben W. December 19, 2015
It's actually an urban myth try it over Christmas when you open two bottles spoon one and not the other then blindfold your subjects, they both retain bubbles to the same extent as long as they were opened at the same time and kept in the same condition
 
Shay T. December 19, 2015
My mother learned this in France, but we usually use a fork, which works just a well as a spoon, I find. The better the champagne, the longer it seems to work, too!
 
Idalu December 19, 2015
Known the trick for years but I can't remember the last time we popped a bottle or two and didn't drink it all.
 
Valerie B. December 18, 2015
The spoon method works well for a day, what I've found works quite well is reusing the cage. I fit the cap on top and twist the cage tightly. I can keep it bubbly for 3 days with this method. Cling film and a well wound elastic band work well with beer.
 
kimikoftokyo September 27, 2015
Funny. I am doing that after brunch today. I know it will take me all day into tomorrow to drink the bottle. What a neat trick. And I see a lot is science behind it.
 
Midnite B. September 27, 2015
Myth or not, I will try this method the next time I open a bottle of bubbly.
 
SeasideGardener September 16, 2015
I've done this for forty years. It almost always works. An elegant Australian<br />friend, who had lived in London, told me about it.<br />
 
Cathryn Z. September 16, 2015
I have used this method for years but with a silver spoon (dress to impress) and it works but in my case I have no trouble finishing it the next day.
 
Christine M. September 16, 2015
Being French, I have a lot of experience on these matters, particularly on Champagne, my preferred of all bubbly stuff - of course :-) <br />I have used the spoon trick for years, learnt it from my Mom and Grandma. Yes it works better with silver, and no it is not the same if you leave the bottle opened without the spoon or without an ad hoc cork. <br />But I must confess that I cannot remember when is the last time that we kept a bottle opened for more than 24 hours after we opened it :-))
 
Adriana K. September 4, 2015
I can't remember where I picked this up, but it's been years and I've been doing it on! Love this trick, people always look at me weird when I do it but it works on the very few occasions we can't finish s bottle of bubbles! Cheers!<br />
 
Derek L. September 4, 2015
Again, this has been tested with controls. There is literally no difference between refrigerated, open bottles with or without spoons (silver or otherwise). The preservation of carbonation is not in question. It is, however, a result of the physical conditions produced by lower temperatures, not silverware.
 
Betsey September 4, 2015
I disagree that this is a myth, I've never had a problem maintaining my bubbles.
 
Anna December 29, 2015
That's because champagne is very bubbly to start with (much more so than a lot of craft beer or soda in the states). The CO2 escapes at the same rate with or without that spoon (unless the spoon is big enough to fill the whole top of the bottle), but you'll be left with some bubbles after a day or two whether you put a spoon, fork, or nothing at all in it. It's telling that nearly everyone on this thread says they don't take more than a day or two to finish - that is about how long it would take most champagne to go flat naturally.
 
Derek L. September 3, 2015
I hate to burst your bubbly, but cv is correct. The spoon is a myth that's been tested and debunked. Chilling, as others have said, will help retain carbonation but your best bet is a cork.
 
Derek L. September 3, 2015
If interested, Herve This wrote a great bit on this.
 
Greenstuff September 3, 2015
It's a sad day when we can't finish off a bottle of Champagne. But in fact, I have enough experience to have learned it stays bubbly for days, as long as it's kept cold, even with no stopper at all.
 
Ron M. September 3, 2015
If just saving the wine for a day or two, just get a simple $5 champagne stopper (kind of like a cork) and keep the wine very cold.
 
cv September 3, 2015
Per ablebodiedgirl's link, keeping it cold is key: the bubbles are soluble at low temperatures.<br /><br />This is why soda (Coca-Cola et al) fizzes less if you pour over ice cubes versus pouring into a glass with no ice. Also, warm soda fizzes a lot more than cold soda.<br /><br />One thing the champagne stopper does is minimize the risk of having unwanted odors affecting the wine during its storage time in the refrigerator. Theoretically, you just use some plastic wrap and a rubber band, but it's easier to get a $5 champagne stopper and forget about it.<br /><br />The spoon trick is a myth. Just keep your bubbly cold.