Patrick Cappiello is the sommelier and part owner of Bowery hotspot Pearl & Ash, "one of the city's most exciting places to drink wine," per New York Times food critic Pete Wells.
The 41-year-old oenophile has also racked up a vineyard's worth of accolades: Food & Wine magazine named him one of the top sommeliers of 2014, Bon Appetit ranked Pearl & Ash among the 50 best new restaurants in America, and New York magazine gave the restaurant's wine selection a nod in its annual Where to Eat guide this year.
But if Cappiello has one conversation starter in his Lower East Side loft, it's his Champagne saber, which he uses to lop the tops off Champagne bottles. He gave us the lowdown on this unique tool:
My sword is definitely a conversation piece. I really wanted a good Champagne saber and since I have an obsession with skulls, it made total sense to try and find one with a skull on it.
A brief Google search for "skull sword" revealed this crazy amazing one on eBay for $45, and two days later, a FedEx package the size of, well, a really big sword arrived at my home. It sits on top of my home bar, where I place it every night when I come home. It's alongside my favorite bottles of whiskey and a couple of etched crystal glasses. I actually bring it into work nightly (I have a bag for it, and since I live only four blocks from the restaurant, I usually walk). I think chef Richard Kuo was tired of me using his knives for this!
The saber is quite stylistically different from my home, as I'm pretty minimalist in my decor. I like a streamlined look with little clutter, and this is more of a decorative and ornate object. That's what makes it fun and why it stands out as a conversation piece!
Pretty much every night, the sword is wielded to smash the heads off Champagne bottles, and cuts the glass right off the top. It’s become an exciting tradition for us. We get guests requesting saberings to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, or just life itself. I’ve even taught a fair share of people how to do it. There’s a reason they call us #sabertownUSA!