About ten years ago my wife was given a Pulltap’s waiter’s friend corkscrew by an old college friend who’d just started with one of the big drinks companies in Dublin.
For the uninitiated, the waiter’s friend is so-called because it is, definitively, the choice of professional waiters – (a) because they’re small and fit in a waistcoat watch-pocket, and (b) because they are just so fantastically reliable.
As a typical product of cash-rich, materialistic Ireland in the last ten years, I’ve been a nightmare to buy presents for. As a result, when it comes to Christmas and birthdays I’ve tended to receive either stripy shirts, or something related to wine on the basis that I tended to drink a lot of it.
I am thereby extremely well qualified in what makes a good corkscrew. I’ve been given lever-pull, wall-mounted, spring-loaded, battery-operated, slow-pull, fast-pull, easy-pull and clean-and-jerk; some quite simple, some ridiculously elaborate, many works of art in their aesthetics.
Ten years on I use, exclusively, the Pulltap’s given to my wife. We still have it, and it’s survived countless imitations and attempts to de-throne it from my wine rack, not to mention a thousand corks and counting.
It’s incredibly simple to use. The worm (that’s the curly screw bit) is Teflon-coated, the arms and levers solid stainless steel, and the hinge, I don’t know, I’m guessing some NASA-derived titanium alloy that just won’t break no matter how stubborn a well-wedged cork.
And it just works. It’s never split a cork, and it’s never failed to pull (how many of us can claim that?). It fits in any pocket for going on a picnic, and slips discretely in any hand-luggage for a weekend break and the obligatory aperitif in the hotel-room before we head out.
I always swore that if I ever started a wine business, I’d hunt-down that corkscrew as a new customer welcome gift, and I did. The only problem is that our first tasting event featured 12 screwcaps – now ain’t that one for Alanis Morissette.