How To Use A Waiter's Corkscrew

How to use a waiter's corkscrew, also known as a wine key to open a bottle of wine. Something everyone should learn to do in their twenties. The guaranteed way to always be able to open a bottle of wine! //

Here is a fact. Outside of being the cocktail person to my friends, I'm also the wine opener. If there is a bottle of wine that needs to be opened, more than likely my name is following right behind it. Why? Well, I want to say it's because I'm wildly impressive and everyone's favorite neighborhood bartender. However, the reality is, I'm one of few we know who can open a bottle of wine without an automatic wine opener. True story. 

Which still to this day sort of shocks me. With the growing popularity of screw tops, automatic wine openers, and the rest of the lot it's just a lost concept on people. Since this is the one party trick I think everyone should know, it's exactly what I'm going to teach you today because you never know when your automatic wine opener will break. Also so my friends can know how to open wine when I'm not around. So grab your favorite vino, we're going to pop some bottles with that dusty old manual corkscrew!


The waiter's corkscrew also known as the pull tab corkscrew, the wine key corkscrew, and the double sided corkscrew. When flipped open the waiter's corkscrew comes with a knife for a foil cutter, the worm (corkscrew), and the two step leverage hinge. Why a waiter's corkscrew? There are a lot of reasons but some are the durability, compact size, and built-in foil cutter. I've had my waiter's corkscrew for 8 years and it was hand me down. So it's true age is a mystery to us all but regardless it's still going strong. Why should you know this? I've found automatic wine openers break corks easier, need replacing once a year, and don't easily release removed corks. All things that can be avoided with a manual corkscrew. Plus I can get a wine bottle opened faster than an automatic can, and so can you. It's really quiet simple.



Step 1. Carefully (use caution as the knife is sharp and could injury you.) open the knife and run the blade along the bottom foil lip at the mouth of the wine bottle. Do not open the foil at the top lip. The top lip is designed to hold one drop of wine in order to avoid drips down the bottle. Thus it needs to be exposed. Once you've gone around the bottom lip, you should be able to lift the foil from the bottle. 

Step 2. Put your knife back in its slot. Open your corkscrew and leverage hinge. Start to turn the corkscrew into the middle of the cork. Turn the corkscrew until you reach the end of the corkscrew.

Step 3. Flip your leverage hinge down so the bottom leverage step sits on the lip of your wine bottle. Wrap your hand around the leverage handle and bottle neck.

Step 4. Begin to slow pull upward at an angle on the opposite side of the leverage hinge. You'll feel the leverage step starting to work as it will be easy to pull the cork up.

Step 5. When the cork is half way up, move your leverage hinge up to the second step. Skipping this step normally results in broken corks. (I know I didn't do it in the photos but synthetic corks come out like butter) Begin pulling upward again until your cork releases from the bottle.

Step 6. Twist off the cork from the corkscrew and you're done.

That's it, it's that easy! I find a lot of people don't use the leverage hinge properly. The leverage hinge really does most of the legwork when using this wine opener, so it's important to make sure you're using it. Overall this is a lot like riding a bike. Once you do it properly, you'll never forget how to do it. 

To really take this a step further so you can learn how to properly do it. The lovely people over at FIX, made this awesome infographic for you to save for the next time you want to impress your friends by being able to open a bottle of wine the "old fashioned" way. It breaks down the steps like I have here but in an easy to keep illustration. So give it a save or Pin It because you'll never know when you'll need it.

Two Step Cork Screw
Source: Blog

So let me know down below, do you know how to open a wine bottle with a waiter's corkscrew? If not, is it something you want to learn how to do?

If you found this post helpful give it a little love on social media for me. 

This post was in collaboration with who were kind enough to share their infographic with us. If you like their work, please go visit them for more great articles.