Folk wisdom has it that putting the handle of a silver spoon down the neck of a champagne bottle will keep the liquid effervescent. But the spoon is entirely irrelevant to the bubbliness of your sparkler.

Dr. Richard Zare, professor and department chair of chemistry at Stanford University, says that “what’s keeping the champagne bubbly has less to do with the silver spoon and more to do with the temperature of the fridge.” Zare has done numerous studies on the subject since 1994.

The colder a liquid is, the more gas it can hold. As the liquid gets warmer, energy increases and carbon dioxide molecules escape. In Zare’s champagne studies, there was no significant difference in the effervescence of champagnes stored overnight with a silver spoon and those stored without one. The spoon doesn’t hurt, but it doesn’t help either.

What does help, says food scientist Harold McGee, is recorking the bottle. Even though the champagnes in Zare’s studies remained bubbly overnight, they were still losing gas. Champagne has a lot of carbon dioxide to begin with. The best way to preserve that gas is to put a lid on it.

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