Here's the Perfect Temperature at Which You Should Drink Champagne

iStock.com/lostinbids
iStock.com/lostinbids

Before you start popping bottles tonight, be sure that everything is set properly: Gather your friends, write some resolutions, and chill the Champagne to its ideal temperature.

It's almost too easy to improperly open a bottle of Champagne (or sparkling wine, as any bubbly that doesn't come from France's Champagne region is technically supposed to be called) and hinder the whole experience. The temperature at which it's chilled can affect the taste, the fizz, and whether you lose a third of the bottle to overflow once you pop the cork. Luckily, there's a way to be sure that you're getting the most out of your bottle of bubs.

The Takeout recently spoke to Bob Hemauer, a partner at Cork 'N Bottle in Madison, Wisconsin, and an expert on the idiosyncrasies and specifics of fine alcohol. His recommendation is to keep your champs chilled to a very safe 45°F, though he prefers to "live life to the edge a little bit," and "let [his] Champagne get a little closer to 50°F or 55°F." A warmer bottle means a fizzy explosion is more likely, but vintage champagnes (read: more expensive bottles—for champagnes, a single-year harvest is what indicates vintage, not its age) are traditionally kept warmer to avoid stunning the taste buds. This gives you the full effect of the flavor. When Champagne is kept just under 50°F, it reaches that perfect happy medium.

Handle your bubbly gently, too. Hemauer says that "treating [the Champagne] with the proper amount of respect really helps." Avoid shaking the bottle, obviously, unless you're filming a music video. When opening it, twist the bottle rather than the cork for the best results. Hemauer adds that you should down your drink quickly to really get the most out of it, and if you must take your time, keeping your bottle in a chilled bucket or refrigerated will keep your drink fizzier for longer.

There's a lot of advice on how to properly store, chill, and serve Champagne, but just remember: never put it in the freezer, keep the temperature just below 50°F, and, drink up so you can avoid the need to re-chill, which impairs its fizz and taste. Cheers!

[h/t The Takeout]

Why Choosing the Second Cheapest Wine on the Menu Isn't Such a Good Idea

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iStock.com/kupicoo

For those whose knowledge of wine is limited to whatever lessons they picked up while watching Sideways, it can be tempting to order a glass of the second-cheapest vino on the menu at bars and restaurants. According to this line of reasoning, you don't want to look cheap by choosing the least expensive wine—but at the same time, it doesn't make sense to order a pricey vintage red if you're not the kind of wine enthusiast who confidently throws around terms like "mouth-feel" and "hints of oak" and would therefore understand and appreciate the difference in quality.

Although this wine hack is widely observed, the Skimm points out why it isn't such a sound method. For one, restaurants are well aware of this customer habit and might even use it to their advantage by taking a bottle they're looking to get rid of and placing it in the second-cheapest slot. That could mean that you're getting a not-so-great bottle of wine and may have been better off ordering the cheapest one on the list.

"I can confirm that restaurants will occasionally reprice a wine that they need to move to make it the second-cheapest spot on the menu," sommelier Kirsten Vicenza tells Atlas Obscura. "It sells!"

And then there are the markups. According to Wine Enthusiast, the cheapest wines tend to have the highest markups, so while your bill may be lower than if you had ordered a top-tier wine, you're also getting the lowest value. The magazine recommends ordering a wine somewhere in the middle—perhaps the third or fourth cheapest wine—to get more bang for your buck.

This isn't a "hard and fast rule," though, as VinePair notes. Sommeliers will sometimes lower the price of a lesser-known wine to encourage customers to try it. If you're unsure what to order, it never hurts to ask for a recommendation.

[h/t Skimm]

How Much a Pint of Beer Will Cost You Around the World

Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images
Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

After updating your passport and packing your suitcase, there's one last thing you should check before going on vacation: How much will a pint of beer cost at your destination?

Just as food and lodging varies in price from country to country, so does beer. To make sure you're prepared for whatever you find on beer menus abroad, The Wall Street Journal has compiled the average cost of a pint of beer in major cities around the world, using data from the travel site OMIO's Beer Price Index.

According to this data, Hong Kong is home to the most expensive brews, with bar patrons shelling out an average of $10.86 per pint in the city. Beer prices don't look much better in the U.S., where the average pint of beer at a bar costs $8.97 in both Miami and New York.

To find cheap beer, you need to head to Eastern Europe or South Asia. A pint costs an average of just $2.22 at bars in Bratislava, Slovakia, the cheapest of any of the cities the WSJ looked at. In Delhi, India, you can get a pint for $2.31, and in Kiev, Ukraine, you can find one for $2.36.

If you're factoring beer prices into your future vacation plans, check out the five most expensive pints and five least expensive pints by city below. And for a different way to look at international beer prices, here's how much beer you can get for $1 around the world.

Cities With the Most Expensive Pints of Beer

1. Hong Kong: $10.86
2. Geneva, Switzerland: $10.77
3. Tel Aviv, Israel: $9.53
4. New York City: $8.97
5. Miami: $8.97

Cities With the Cheapest Pints of Beer

1. Bratislava, Slovakia: $2.22
2. Delhi, India: $2.31
3. Kiev, Ukraine: $2.36
4. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam: $2.58
5. Kraków, Poland: $2.70

[h/t The Wall Street Journal]

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