The Art of Sabrage is perhaps the greatest legend in the history of Champagne.
Legend has it Napoleon Bonaparte’s infamous cavalry, the Hussards, began the Art of Sabrage, a technique to behead a bottle of Champagne with a saber or sword. When Madame Clicquot lavishly entertained Napoleon’s officers in her vineyard, she offered them bottles and bottles of Champagne. At sunrise the Hussards rode off on horseback and whipped out their sabers to behead the bottles to impress the young widow.
This may not be the most accurate of stories, but it is certainly the most spirited. Sabrage has since remained a tradition in the French Army and has come to signify celebration.