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Rabbit makes quick work of corks

Vertical design of the famous Rabbit corkscrew is more compact and practical for storage

A candy apple red Rabbit corkscrew costs $60 at Sur La Table. Sur La Table

As a cook, I love any gadgets that make more tedious kitchen tasks easier. As a lover of science, I like kitchen innovations that combine new technologies with traditional ones (see the Pacojet). But as a former mechanical engineer, I reserve the biggest place in the kitchen gadget section of my heart for those that have the coolest moving part.

Maybe that's why I giggled like a first grader when I first used the Rabbit corkscrew, a contraption that clamps on the top of a wine bottle and removes the cork. Instead of wrestling with one of those pocketknife-style numbers and ending up with a sore wrist, the Rabbit conquers the cork in two fluid movements: one to squeeze down the lever and clamp the corkscrew firmly inside the cork, and one to lift the cork cleanly out of the bottle. No twisting, angling, aiming, or sweating involved; just one pump, like drawing water from an old-fashioned well.

The problem with the Rabbit corkscrew is that, because of its shape, it has to be stored in an awkwardly large container, roughly the size of a cigar box. If you've been reading my posts long enough, you'll know that I live in a Brooklyn apartment with a small kitchen, hardly an environment conducive to storing a big ol' box that only accomplishes the one task of opening wine bottles (although it is a fairly important task, to be sure). The solution? Go vertical!

This vertical version of the Rabbit corkscrew uses the same ratchet motion to remove the cork, but it has been redesigned so that the clamping pressure is applied at the top of the bottle instead of off to the side. This results in a slimmed-down shape that's more practical for storage. Sure, it eliminates one of the interesting moving parts of the gadget, but it's a sacrifice I'm willing to make for the sake of actually being able to store one in my kitchen.

The corkscrew can be found at Sur La Table in candy apple red for about $60.