5 Easy Ways to Open Wine Without a Corkscrew
Including a few tips from everyone's favorite wine connoisseur, John Legend.
Whether the one corkscrew in your home has gone missing or ends up broken (the worst), the issue always presents itself at the moment you need it most—when guests are over and you're trying to open a nice bottle of wine.
I’m sure you’ve heard of 100,000 ways to open a corked bottle without a corkscrew, but maybe you'll actually remember them if you watch John Legend teach you how?
The Grammy award-winning artist, who is married to model-turned-chef cookbook author Chrissy Teigen, stars in a how-to video by that highlights a few quick shortcuts a home cook could take if they find themselves missing a wine opener in the kitchen. His quick tips inspired us to think of a few more hacks that an in-the-know cook can use in a jiffy.
We also have five simple solutions (a few of them different than John's) that will ensure you enjoy your hard-earned happy hour without having to speed to the nearest convenience store:
1) The Hammer and Screw Method:
I recently was at a wake service for a family member when someone realized my grandmother’s corkscrew, probably from the 1960’s if I’m honest, had jammed. I prepared to excuse myself to run down to Rite Aid when my uncle surprised the entire crowd by opening the wine with a few home improvement tools in a nearby drawer.
He started by twisting a screw into the cork using a screwdriver—not deep into the bottle, but enough so that most of the screw remained outside the cork.
Then he grabbed a hammer and lifted the screw in one swift motion, and voila—the cork popped out of the bottle, and everyone clapped like they were watching a magician at work.
2) The Shoe Method:
This works best with a shoe that has a higher profile to reach your ankle, as well as a shoe with a raised sole. A leather loafer that a gentleman might wear to work is a great example.
Make sure any wrapping around the cork is removed before you place it into your shoe. Holding the shoe against the bottom of your bottle, smack the shoe against a sturdy wall a few times. You’ll notice the cork will slowly inch out and you’ll be able to ease it out. (Or, it will fire out in a burst of wine, and the bottle will start to foam, as in the video above.)
3) The Car Keys Hack
Your car keys are an ingenious way to wiggle out a cork in just a few seconds. If you insert your car key at a slight angle, leaving just a little bit of the key outside of the cork itself, you can use the top of your car key to push the cork clockwise and up and out of the bottle. The key here is to turn it in circles as well as pull up in the same movement.
4) The Serrated Knife Trick
Just as you would do with your car keys, a serrated blade could help you uncork a bottle of wine. If you insert a blade into the cork and are able to twist the cork in an upwards motion, the next step will ensure a clean exit. Once you have about an inch or so of cork to work with, take the knife out, stick it in again sideways, and simply twist out the cork in a circular motion.
5) The Wire Hanger Technique
And you thought you could only cleared clogged drains with unwound hangers, really. If you twist a spare wire hanger into the shape of a corkscrew, you can easily wiggle your cork out of the bottle with a few quick twists.
If in the course of your adventures in DIY opening you’ve managed to shred your cork into bits and send them spewing into the wine itself, a last-minute hack for you – strain your wine over a coffee filter. It’ll be like the cork never even existed in the first place.