A corkscrew is a fundamental piece of barware that every home bar should have. Whether you’re mixing a classic cocktail or simply opening a bottle of wine, corkscrews are basic pieces of equipment. So if you’re in the process of outfitting your bar, here are the basics of corkscrews and wine openers.
What is a Corkscrew?
Traditionally corkscrews are known as tools for drawing corks from bottles, but they can be much more. Clearly an essential bar tool for those that enjoy wine, corkscrews can include integrated blades, bottle openers and other features that make serving cocktails easier. Moreover whether you’re a wine drinker or not, every good bartender should have a corkscrew or wine opener on hand to serve their guests.
Types of Corkscrews
Beyond their basic functionality, corkscrews are often considered a study in style. Frankly, there are many different types of wine openers from the most basic to the very complex and we’ll look at each briefly to help you find the best option for your home bar.
To be honest, I look at one of these a cringe. Either I’m going to injure myself or look silly in a wild attempt at opening the wine. However, at a cost of less than $20 it’s always a solid backup.
I understand how popular this wine corkscrew may be, but it’s not a personal favorite. Its primary strength is that it makes removing a cork much easier and it’s a cost effective option. Weaknesses include: durability – I’ve rarely seen one last any significant amount of time; cool factor – I know that it sounds stupid, but it’s awkward to use.
Here’s a quick summary on how to use a Sommelier Knife:
The sommelier knife is definitely my favorite corkscrew option for several different reasons. It works well and makes decanting wine easy. It’s compact and doesn’t take up any unnecessary space. Its appearance can range from supremely functional to super stylish. However with all those positives, the waiter’s knife does require the use of some technique so it may not be the best choice for a rookie out of the gate.
Ah So Corkscrew
This video offers the skinny on how to use one (although I cannot condone the jewelry choice):
To me the strengths are the Ah So’s simplicity and appearance, however it’s clear that you’ll need to have your technique down or risk putting the cork deeper into the bottle.
The primary benefits for the Rabbit Wine Opener are that it’s easy to use, however some drawbacks include cost (a good one is like $50) and that it takes up storage space.
If you’d like a few more details on how to use the Rabbit Corkscrew this Japanese lady will show you how:
From my perspective this option really only makes sense for those that open a lot of bottles of wine, like a restaurant. Strengths include speed and ease of use, while cost and use of space are a downside.
As you can see there are quite a few options when selecting a corkscrew. Often times it’s a function of your level of knowledge, available storage place and budget. From my perspective, the best all-around option is the Sommelier Knife. It combines several different functionalities in a compact, cost-effective design. However, don’t worry about my recommendation; find something that meets your needs and jump right in!