Expressions: The Blog

How to Use an Ah-So Corkscrew

An Ah-So corkscrew (also known as a “cork fork” or a “butler’s thief) is basically two metal prongs that you shimmy down the sides of the cork and then pull up. The functionality is as basic as it gets and it requires more muscle than other corkscrews, but it comes in handy when you have a crumbly or broken cork (like on an old wine).

Here are the steps to using an Ah- So or check out Josh’s video to see it in person!

  1. Insert the longer prong first, then the shorter side
  2. Rock the prongs back and forth while pulling up
  3. The cork should move up as you pull until voila! you’ve removed the cork
  4. If the cork is broken simply repeat the above steps for each piece
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  1. Karole Miele

    July 2, 2019 - 1:19 pm

    I can only hope I am privileged enough to enjoy a glass of wine coming out of a bottle old enough to require the use of an Ah-So corkscrew!

  2. A.J. Delaup

    July 4, 2019 - 10:34 am

    You can throw that devise away. Don’t even try to use it, you could shove it into your fingers or hand.
    Just saying 🙁

    • David P Dickmeyer

      November 17, 2019 - 8:04 pm

      Not so! Are you aiming the device at your hand or the cork? I suppose you would also say a corkscrew is dangerous!

  3. RP

    July 8, 2019 - 5:04 pm

    No sir… that is not the way to use that device. You are going to break it. You must insert the prongs all the way down to the handle BEFORE twisting and pulling up. I suggest switching to a cork screw if the prongs will not slip around the cork. By the way, this device allows you to save the cork intact without damage.

    • Mitchell Pain

      January 18, 2020 - 3:27 pm

      I’m a somm and agree. If the prongs aren’t all the way in you can snap them off. We had a house guest do that to my Ah-so when I was not there to open the bottle. It can do a little damage to older corks so you have to make sure no cork goes into the bottle when you pull the cork out. I usually give a little wipe just before it’s ready to come out.

      • JW

        July 24, 2021 - 10:08 pm

        You are exactly correct. The rocking motion is to work the prongs all the way in, twist and then pull up. I have had some older wines and had corks crumble with a regular cork screw. The Ah-so has worked every time on older corks and it is now what I use for older wines every time.

  4. AA

    September 29, 2019 - 4:14 pm

    Something we have found helpful using the “ah-so” is to touch a finger print lightly into the liquid of what’s being served (steak fat?) or whatever and deftly rub the tines of the ah-so. This eases the entry of the tines into the neck of the bottle and makes removing the cork that much easier.

    • Eric

      November 2, 2019 - 4:23 pm

      I never thought of that, thanks.

  5. Eric

    November 2, 2019 - 4:16 pm

    Yes, the ah so cork screw is so much easier to use than the traditional cork screw without the wings, and yes, you nudge it down, and then turn and lift. Always gets the stubborn cork out without having to use a screw driver or chisel and hammer to mash it down into the bottle and break it up!

  6. John Sementa

    April 29, 2020 - 2:43 pm

    I use an Ah-So (I prefer “Butler’s Friend”) almost all of the time. I don’t mean to be overly critical but I have yet to see a more ham handed demonstration on how to use one than the above video. The secret is easy does it. Get the prongs started as described and gently ease it back and forth until the tines are all the way down. Lastly with a twisting motion ease the cork out. This type of cork screw is especially helpful with older bottles, like Vintage Port or 1855 Classified Bordeaux which commonly peak at 20+ years past vintage.

  7. Ray Krause

    October 7, 2020 - 6:20 pm

    One important step neglected in the tutorial is to always turn the Ah-So in the same direction when extracting as the tines will take a directional set. Twisting back and forth will only tweek the tines and shorten the tool’s usefulness in extracting older cork.

  8. Mark

    November 24, 2020 - 3:08 pm

    Two comments: 1) The Ah-So DOES have a foil cutter – it is the longer of the two prongs; 2) While it is okay to hold the neck of the bottle while extracting the cork this should only be done if the cork comes out very easily otherwise the bottle should be held lower down on the “fat” part of the bottle. If the bottle is to break it always breaks 2/3s of the way down the neck. If holding the neck your hand WILL BE CUT. The other comments I will make is that the Monopol “Ah-So” is superior to any others I have tried and over time a prong will break – always have a spare handy!

  9. Tom Dehn

    January 7, 2021 - 5:23 am

    As above , Butler’s Friend is the correct name; friend , because the butler would disappear into his master’s cellar for a tiple of fine wine, extracting the cork undamaged. This could be replaced after topping up the looted wine bottle with some cheap plonk

  10. Mark Barlow/ 12 Obsession Crystal

    February 18, 2021 - 10:16 am

    I carry to all tastings, as sometimes someone brings great old bottle. Also cheap corks sometime break, I use on all 10+ yr old bottles, rather than trying corkscrew and possibly breaking cork, then harder to get out.
    His Step #2. Rock while pulling up??, turn will work not rock.
    I have antique 2 prong, invaluable, timeless!

  11. Mark

    March 13, 2021 - 12:26 pm

    old corks might be “stuck” to the sides of the bottle, take your ah-so and with the long prong only insert around the cork several times to break the “seal” then yur cork stands a better chance of coming out in one piece

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