It ain’t wrong to Chambong
Shooting sparkling wine: flashy meets trashy
Cambonging at Vintage 1740
The thought of Champagne may conjure images of extravagant parties, wedding receptions, or New Year’s Eve toasts. But, thanks to the Chambong, the bubbly drink can now be consumed with reckless abandon to celebrate any occasion. If alcohol is a social lubricant, then the Chambong is the oil can.
The Chambong—an odd-looking contraption, resembling a cross between a Champagne glass and a pipe—had humble beginnings. A week before the 2014 Super Bowl, a few friends aimed to create a super bowl. They realized the device wasn’t as suitable for cannabis as they’d hoped, but fortunately they recognized its resemblance to a Champagne glass. They filled it with sparkling wine and took a swig—and the rapid-consumption device was born. Several prototypes and a few years later, it’s now available in both glass and plastic and with optional stands.
The Chambong’s introduction to Tulsa may be a little more difficult to trace. Most credit it to Ashley Sutton of Thirst Wine Merchants, who in 2015 gave a set to Matt Sanders, owner of Vintage 1740 (1740 S. Boston Ave.). Since Vintage’s monumental rosé party, the Chambong has become a Vintage staple, and it wasn’t long before its popularity spread. Sanders gave a set to Valkyrie (13 E. M.B. Brady St.), and word has it that MixCo (South 3rd Street and Denver Avenue) then started offering them.
Jimmy Reid, bartender at Vintage 1740, attributes the Chambong’s rise in popularity to two factors: it makes Champagne (or sparkling wine) consumption less pretentious, and it invokes curiosity from across the bar. Reid says it’s not unusual for a party bus of 12 bachelorettes to roll in to bong some bubbly before migrating to their next destination. Hank Hanewinkel III, who bartends at MixCo, recalls serving two or three rounds of Chambongs in the span of 10 minutes to a group celebrating the recent divorce of one of their members.
Chambongs are known to cause the “mojito effect,” a term used to describe how the mystique of one person’s flashy beverage often leads additional customers to inquire about and order the same. These larger group settings is where the Chambong’s rapid distribution abilities shine.
Vintage 1740 regular Darku Jarmola shared a sentiment about his first Chambong shot—one similar to others I’ve heard.
“It’s an interesting story, but it’s almost like asking someone where they were the first time they took a shot,” said Jarmola. But one key difference between a shot and a Chambong makes the latter unique: Shots are taken during highs and lows, but Champagne is always associated with celebration.
It’s not uncommon for the veterans to purchase a newbie’s first Chambong, even if it’s a stranger.
“When I’m out with someone and they say they’ve never had a Chambong before, I’m like, well, you’re having one now,” said
When asked if the Chambong dilutes the Champagne experience in any way, Reid said that’s possible, but he boasted of persuading renowned winemaker Rajat Parr to partake in a Chambong at their annual rosé party. Parr, a fan of bubbles, conceded that it wasn’t the worst experience.
While gathering Chambong stories across Tulsa, I found one unnamed patron whose story spanned at least two bars. His claim to fame at one establishment was that he drank the classic Champagne and absinthe cocktail, Death in the Afternoon, out of a Chambong; at the other bar he was known for taking a Chambong and inadvertently spilling it all over his face.
The first time using a Chambong may be a bit tricky, but that’s half the fun. For the uninitiated, partaking in this communal tipple means simply tilting the Chambong until it forms a V-like shape, slowly filling with sparkling wine until one inch of empty space remains on both ends, and then drinking it like a shot from the smaller end.
If you’re looking for a way to kick off a celebratory night, or if the standard mimosa brunch isn’t enough, a round of Chambongs
is the perfect way to get things started.