Today, the Sybaritic Single touches on the very sensitive topic of ordering Champagne by glass. Oh, how many times he got disappointed by luxury hotels and their nasty sommeliers!
Nothing was ever served by the glass until 1907, when Berthold Kempinski was the first to introduce this concept at his establishment in Berlin.
In 2021, the only two hotels where the Sybaritic Single gets always-perfect Champagne by glass are Ritz Paris and Burj Al Arab (see above) – the sparkle is always, always perfect. Even his favourite Hôtel Plaza Athénée made a couple of attempts to serve him half-flat Dom Pérignon – oh, how ghastly it was!
A glass of Champagne appears to be a more challenging order than the most sophisticated cocktail. Sommeliers hate it, barmen detest it. The very worst is when they try to serve yesterday’s Champagne the next morning. One can barely get it right – unless at St. Regis Mexico City where there are always a few fresh bottles for Veuve Clicquot right at the reception desk for the guests to enjoy any time of the day or night before they start complaining.
At first, the Sybaritic Single was embarrassed to send back flat Champagne where it belongs – either at hotels or in first class cabins (he vividly remembers that Emirates stewardess who shook a bottle of Dom Pérignon to reignite it with sparkle right in front of him). He quietly poured the flat drink somewhere in a nearby plant pot – or straight into the LED-powered Emirates plush first class cabin carpet – and called for another one. Today, he insists on his bubbles to be poured right in front of him, from a fresh bottle into a perfectly polished flûte tilted at 45 degrees.
Since 1999, Burj Al Arab mastered the most ideal ritual of pouring perfectly sparkling Champagne – they even call it some special method but the Sybaritic Single is always too careless to remember the term. The hotel might have lost its glorious sparkle, became an old grand dame of Dubai waiting for her long-overdue facelift, but it surely serves its Champagne perfectly right until now.