Waiter’s Corkscrew

waiters-corkscrew-italianI suppose that I should write about the waiter’s corkscrew before the wine cork becomes completely obsolete and these lovely devices disappear from everywhere except the memories of elderly wine enthusiasts and restaurant staff.

The waiter’s corkscrew (sometimes called a wine key, sometimes a sommelier knife, sometimes a waiter’s friend, but I prefer to think of that one as the lovely young lady sipping Riesling at the bar while she waits for her man to finish his shift) is a device aimed at getting the cork out of the bottle as quickly and easily as possible, while being portable enough to be easily carried in the waiter’s trouser pocket or apron pocket.

The device consists of a fold-out screw (or helix or worm) and an arm that braces against the lip of the bottle to provide leverage while pulling the cork. Sometimes the arm has two steps, and sometimes incorporates a hinge in the arm to allow the waiter a little flexibility as to when the start pulling the cork. Some, like my illustration, incorporate a bottle cap opener as the step.

Most waiter’s corkscrews have a short, usually curved blade to cut the protective foil wrapper from neck of the bottle.

There are many inventions in the corkscrew field, many of them useless, many of them designed purely to be given as gifts and never used again. Many of them are more expensive, many of them cheaper, but no other corkscrew is as reliable and downright handy as the waiter’s. That, and they make you look like you know what you’re doing when you open a bottle of wine for your special friend. Particularly when it’s the lady that we met earlier and she has given up waiting for her waiter and decided to come home with you.