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Your dinner party is in full swing, and you’re opening your third or fourth bottle of Pinot Noir. Suddenly the corkscrew’s metal spiral snaps, leaving you with no way to remove the cork. Instead of giving up on serving alcohol or rushing out to buy a replacement, try one of these seven unusual alternatives for getting the bottle open.
Grab a claw hammer and a clean screw. Twist the screw into the cork until it’s about half sunk in, then grip the head of the screw with the hammer’s claws and slowly leverage the cork out.
Take off your shoe or grab one from the closet with a thick, flat sole. Slide the bottom of the bottle into the shoe, then whack the bottle and shoe against a solid wall so the bottom is cushioned as it impacts. A few good smacks should start pushing the cork outward. A thick book also works well as a buffer.
The Improvised Corkscrew
Grab a wire coat hanger and a pair of pliers. Twist up your own makeshift corkscrew spiral and free your wine.
The Bicycle Pump
Poke a hole through the entire cork and insert the tip of a bicycle pump until it’s through the cork. Slowly pump up the air pressure until the cork pops out. Don’t over pump or you could break the bottle.
Grab a power drill and carefully drill into the center of the cork about half way. Use the body of the drill as a conveniently large grip and get a friend to hold the bottle as you pull upward until the cork comes free.
Make a small hole all the way through the cork. Use a bit of wire or another stiff tool to stuff a piece of cord or string with a knot in it through the hole until the knot is on the other side. Slowly pull on the string to lift the cork without pulling the knot through the hole.
Finally, consider just pushing the cork in instead of trying to fish it out. Find a flat-topped pen or marker that is a little smaller than the mouth of the bottle. Gently push downwards on the cork, applying pressure with a larger object if it gets uncomfortable on your hands, until the cork is floating in the wine. Don’t rush or you’ll end up with crumbles of cork in the drink.