This Is the Only Wine Opener You Need

published Nov 28, 2016
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(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

Sometimes the best things in life are also the simplest. Case in point? The waiter’s friend. While there are plenty of fancier options on the market, this wine key is a restaurant standby for a reason: it’s durable, easy to use, and affordable. In short, wine doesn’t need to be complicated — and neither does your opener. Plus, saving money on your wine key just means a bigger budget for the stuff you’re actually drinking.

Read on to find out more about why the waiter’s friend is the only wine opener you need.

1. It’s affordable.

While you can find versions of the waiter’s friend at all prices, from less than $2 at restaurant supply stores to hundreds of dollars for titanium versions, the best ones cost around $10, making them solidly budget-friendly. That means you can probably afford to have a couple on hand for whenever and wherever you need it.

When buying a waiter’s friend, you want to look for one that has two hinges on one side and a curved blade. The hinges are critical because they provide leverage that allows you to gently remove the cork with two short pulls, instead of straining to get the cork out with the bottle between your legs. A curved blade makes slicing sharp foils easy, instead of relying on built-in tabs or removing the entire foil.

Pulltap’s is a reliable brand and can be found everywhere from Trader Joe’s to Macy’s.

2. It’s durable.

Unlike electronic corkscrews and Rabbit openers, which often require (pricey) replacement parts or new batteries, the waiter’s friend is simple and solid. On the off chance that a piece breaks, they’re cheap enough to simply replace. Not that you’ll need to buy new ones often — my favorite opener has been by my side for years, and I open several cases of wine per week.

3. It’s (relatively) easy to use.

If you’re worried that the waiter’s friend corkscrew is tricky to use, you’re not alone. However, I can tell you that this simple tool is much easier to figure out than other more complicated devices on the market. With a little practice you’ll be singing its praises.

To use a waiter’s friend properly, simply insert the worm (the industry word for the twisty screw piece) in the center of the cork, and twist it all the way down. Place the first ledge of the corkscrew onto the bottle lip and pull the wine key straight up. Then use the second ledge to pull the cork the rest of the way out. It’s as simple as that!

What’s more, in the event of a broken cork, the waiter’s friend gives you a second chance. Unlike fancy wine openers, the handy screw on a waiter’s friend can be inserted into a partially opened bottle. If you break a cork, simply insert the worm back into the bottle, and gently twist the key into the remaining cork at an angle. Then, you can delicately pull the broken piece upward. The key is to be gentle, so the cork can be pulled out instead of plunked down into the wine.

Is the waiter’s friend your wine opener of choice?