How to open a bottle of wine with household items when you’ve lost your corkscrew (and your head).
Whether you forgot to pack it, keep saying you’ll get around to buying one, or simply can’t find where you put it, not having a corkscrew nearby is not cause for panic. No matter where you are or what limited resources you have, you’ll always be able to pop open some vino with these hacks.
1. Screw + Screwdriver + Hammer
If you don’t have a corkscrew, just grab the next best thing. A screw! Simply twist the screw into the top of the cork at an angle and then use a screwdriver to wind the screw down. Make sure the screw is long enough to sink into at least half of the cork. Do this until there’s about an inch gap between the head of the screw and the top of the cork. Then, taking the backside of a hammer (that part that looks like a V that no one knows what to do with) slide the head of the screw through the V and pull! Who said tools are just for those DIY crafts you always say you’ll do?
2. Don’t Fight the Cork!
Rather than trying to remove it from the bottle, settle for keeping the cork there. No, I don’t mean giving up on the cork all together and abandoning your beloved wine. To get past the cork and to the wine, take the handle of a wooden spoon and use your killer arm strength to push the cork all the way into the bottle. Disclaimer: if you’re into collecting corks, this method may not be for you — that cork is a goner. The only downside to this method is that if you’re drinking an older wine, you run the risk of the aged cork disintegrating into your wine. Additionally, as that cork floats around in your wine, it may alter the taste. To solve this, immediately pour the wine through a strainer and into a decanter. That way, no pieces of cork are floating around in anyone’s glasses and the flavor of the wine is unaffected. No one will ever know there was cork in their wine. Your secret is safe with us.
3. Bang Bang
If you’re a thrill seeker, try out this method. Start by wrapping your precious, glass bottle in a thick towel (emphasis on thick, since your bottle has a good chance of shattering if you hit it too hard). Then, find a nice hard surface. A wall will do. Begin to gently bang the back end of your bottle against the wall, making sure the plush towel is cushioning the blow. With every hit your bottle takes, the cork should inch out more and more. With this method, it’s important to keep in mind that you shouldn’t be focused on how quickly you can get the cork out, but rather if you can successfully remove it without the bottle breaking. THAT takes focus and determination (so make sure you do this before you’ve got any wine in your system).
4. Lucky Loafers
Compared to banging your bottle against the wall, this shoe method is a much safer approach. Sitting in a chair, place the bottle vertically between your knees with the neck of the bottle facing the floor. Use your knees to hold the bottle in place. Then, taking a loafer, or your favorite hard-soled shoe, begin slapping the end of the bottle. Eventually, the cork will begin to inch its way out. Make sure to stop just before the cork is almost out! You definitely don’t want wine stains everywhere, or more importantly, to see a perfectly good bottle of wine all over your floor. Now that would be a real tragedy.
5. The Key
If none of the above methods worked for you, don’t give up hope just yet. Grab your car keys as a last resort. Plunge your key into the cork at a 45° angle. Holding the key in place, twist the bottle at its neck while simultaneously twisting the key in the opposite direction. This joint movement should act as a screw and cause your stubborn cork to come out. Who needs to drive to the store to get a corkscrew when you have a perfectly good pair of keys to do the job?
While we don’t recommend boycotting corkscrews altogether in replacement of one of these five methods, we will admit that they do come in handy when you’re in a bind or simply want to impress your friends. One thing we do recommend is making sure to try these methods before you consume any wine, but use your own discretion.