Say you find yourself in a hotel room on a cold London night, caught in a bout of sleep-free jetlag, but prepared to take the edge off with a bottle of wine. Unfortunately, you forget to bring a corkscrew. You don't have any cash to tip room service for bringing one up. What do you do? WHAT DO YOU DO?
I can tell you what I did tonight. First, I paid the 20 dollar wi-fi fee (note to Cumberland Hotel- screw you!) and looked up a solution. The suggestions included banging it on a tree and using a hammer/screw. Having neither a tree nor a screw loose, I gathered materials from around the room.
I tried the banging method in several ways- held in my knees with a shoe, against the wall with a pillow, against the floor, an unturned chair, using the hotel bible. None of them worked. Then I moved on to stabbing at it. The cork was synthetic, and seemed designed specifically to thwart me. I did get a paper clip through the cork, but that didn't accomplish much. Various methods of bending it and trying to create a hook were failures as well. Then I tried to make a two-pronged wine key out of... two keys, but I couldn't get them into the sides of the cork at all. Neither could I get the handle of the coffee spoon into the side of the cork.
I looked around the room for another time (this was an hour long process) and found something that I'd overlooked- the coat hangers! Without a moment to spare (I was really thirsty) I grabbed a hanger and bent it at the neck, so that the spiral part separated- a natural corkscrew! I plunged it into the cork, but was having a difficult time getting it all through. But in doing so, I must have loosed it up, because the cork began to slip into the bottle. I removed the hanger, grabbed the spoon, and banged in the cork using the hotel bible. The cork plunged into the wine, spraying only enough of it out of the bottle to make it dramatic.
The victory was delicious! If I only I could say that for the wine.
So all you need to open wine without a corkscrew is a hanger, a spoon, and a bible. If this information helps just one person get his or her drink on in equally dire circumstances, it will all have been worth it.