Food & Drink

The $7 Wine Tool I Still Use from My Old Waitressing Days

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You may have heard this confession from me before on this site, but I was terrible server. I waited tables throughout high school and college and I was, well, not great at it. I worked as a cocktail waitress at a cool, seasonal place where boaters could dock on the Delaware River to have a meal or a drink. I worked at a nicer Italian establishment where crumbs were brushed off the tables between courses. And I worked at all sorts of places in between.

My mediocrity stemmed from the fact that I have a terrible short-term memory. Ask me for ketchup, and I’m bound to forget all about it by the time I make it to the kitchen. It was a good learning experience for me, though: I got real life experience that taught me how restaurants work, the importance of good customer service, and how to properly open a bottle of wine.

This wine-opening-point is what we’re here to talk about today. See, I noticed that every restaurant that sold wine had the same exact wine opener: Pulltap’s Double-Hinged Waiters Corkscrew. I no longer wait tables, but I still go out to eat and I’ve noticed it’s what servers use nine times out 10. (More like 9.8 times out of 10.) And it’s the corkscrew of choice, nominated by our panel of experts for Kitchn Essentials, Bar Edition. The style is called a wine key and there are lots of wine keys out there. Many of them look just like the one from Pulltap’s, but Pulltap’s really does make the best one. Why’s that? Let’s take a look.

Read more: How To Open a Bottle of Wine Using a Wine Key Corkscrew

At first glance, a wine key looks prohibitively complicated to use. It’s not, I promise! Especially if you’re using Pulltap’s, which I’ve found to be incredibly sturdy and reliable. I’ve been (very regularly!) using the same wine key for more than a decade and the built-in foil cutter is still sharp enough to cut through the thickest foil. The hinges still bend effortlessly and the worm still spirals into any and all corks. I’ve used other wine keys over the years at friends’ houses and I haven’t been impressed. I’ve even broken a few! My Pulltap’s? Still going strong. Plus, you can get one for around $7.

I have a boring black one. I think I put it in my pocket, promptly forgot about it, and accidentally took it home from a bar where I worked. (I don’t promote stealing from your place of business and I will make it right! But, see? I told you! Bad short-term memory!) However, there are all sorts of fun colors and patterns that you can buy. Maybe I’ll get this cute floral one or a shiny copper one and finally return my old one back to my former employer the next time I’m town.

Do you have a wine tool that you love? Tell us about it in the comments below!

Lisa Freedman

Lifestyle Director

Lisa Freedman is the Lifestyle Director at The Kitchn. She has never met a cheese or a washi tape she didn’t like. She lives in New York state with her husband and their pup, Millie.

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