Do It With Cava

From the archives: JUAN ZOBER DE FRANCISCO reminds you how to correctly douse your friends as they finish their final exam.

In Oxford they throw confetti, in Cambridge we do it with cava.

It is encouraging to see people already gathering around exam sites, waiting to douse their friends in cava. Allow me to share some thoughts on the proper execution of this wonderfully Cantabrigian tradition.

Preparation matters. There should be no guesswork as to where your target will exit. You should arrive at the correct location armed with at least two bottles of sparkling wine per target.

The bottles must be chilled. The first must be from the cheapest range of cava as it will be emptied in the initial salvo—and it is a crime to waste good champagne. It is the second bottle which reflects how much you care for the person.

Timing is essential. Arrive at least fifteen minutes before the exam is due to finish and make sure you’re at the front of the firing squad. Amateurs wait for others to go first. If in a group, fan out sufficiently to ensure the target is properly soaked.

Ten minutes before you expect the dousing to take place, remove the wrapper from your bottle and gently release the cage. Consider the bottle ‘live’ once the base of the cage is opened—there is no excuse for uncontrolled premature popping.

Pop the cork before shaking. This is a contentious point, but in the proper execution of a Cambridge dousing, the true veteran follows this method. Why? Because only amateurs and Americans mimic racing car drivers with their loud, uncoordinated pops and the subsequently messy and inefficient spraying.

No, that is not the Cambridge way. Pop the bottle with dignity and control just a few minutes before the exam is over, keeping your thumb firmly over the now-open bottle. You’ll find that when the cava is needed for spraying, it will still be receptive to your persuasions.

(For those who don’t know how to quietly open a bottle of cava or champagne I suggest you learn quickly; the correct method is to hold the bottle at a 45o angle to the ground, grip the cork firmly in your weaker hand while using your stronger to gently twist and ever-so-slightly pull the bottle in a smooth downwards motion.)

Now comes the moment that matters most: picking your target from the outflow of students. Note that it may be tempting, upon sight of a friend you care for less than your target, to simply douse him or her instead. This temptation can increase if you notice that that person is not being met by anyone. Stay your ground and remember who you came for!

The rest is straightforward. Keeping your eyes on your target, hold your thumb over the opening as you shake the bottle furiously. Soon enough, the force of the cava will be too great to keep the thumb in place. When this happens, move your thumb just enough to create a small opening and you’ll find a fierce but targeted spray of celebration emerge.

Aim for the eyes.

Inspired by Matthew Merrick and Barnaby Bryan

  • Confused

    Tab, what has happened to you? Decent columnists, decent features- are you feeling ok?

    • Avid reader

      I hate this. The Tab does a great job at entertaining students and it’s about time people were grateful for that rather than being really bitchy. Can’t think of many other good student papers.

  • jkg

    who gives a shit?

  • Juan Zober Bellend

    oi, you stole my name!

  • You're a

    Juanker. Thought I'd say it before anyone else.


    this is great thank you I particularly like the photos I see they are not staged very good yes very good

    • actually….

      actually weren't staged… the sprayees and sprayers were not aware of the conception of this article until today. They were just taking it like real men who had just finished 4 year degrees.

  • Matt Burke

    I can't wait to pour 2 bottles of cava down my sink after exams finish!!!

  • St John's

    we dont drink cava. we drink bollinger.


    • Johnian

      If you'd ever been to our bar you'd know that Pol Roger is preferred. Move on pleb.

      • you're

        still a twat

  • Shania Twain

    Fitz beat Johns at rugby

    • Wakkers

      So you're St Johns?
      That don't impress me much
      oooooh ooh ooohhh

  • Examless

    This just happened to me an hour ago. I have mixed feeling about this article. I'm sticky.

  • like a good lol

    cue photoshopping in a naked man

  • Wine wanker

    'The first must be from the cheapest range of cava as it will be emptied in the initial salvo—and it is a crime to waste good champagne.'

    Cava isn't champagne.

    • Just a Wanker

      Hence using cava instead of champagne…

    • captain obvious

      I think you might need to work on your reading comprehension

    • Critical Cantab

      I think you've just reiterated the point being made.

    • Wine Wonder

      .. well yes, that's sort of the point.

    • Top tip

      If you're going to be a knob, at least make sure you've understood the sentence you criticize.

    • Juan Sheet

      Er, he doesn't say it is.

    • Got the message?


    • Wine Wanker II

      The implication being that the second bottle would be champagne when in fact we're apparently concerned with Cava. Don't worry mate I'm with you on this one.

    • true pedant

      in wine wanker's defence, the sentence wasn't *entirely* clear. it is indeed possible, if somewhat dim, to interpret "it is a crime to waste good champagne" as implying that cava is champagne, because the emphasis is on "good" – the implication being that cava is "bad" champagne. had juan said "it is a crime to waste champagne", then there would have been no confusion; it is from his expectation that we see "good champagne" as a single lexeme, as opposed to being in contrast with the supposed "bad champagne", that the confusion arises.

      That, at least, is the semantics of it. Pragmatically, it should really have been obvious to wine wanker what he meant – everyone knows that cava isn't champagne.

  • Matt Merrick


    • I'm Spartacus

      I don't swear that much… and when it comes to spraying its sainsbo cava all the way…

      • Matt Merrick


  • Article about Cava?

    You don't sound like a very 'Zober Juan' to me

    • Congratulations

      You got the joke! Thanks for letting us know.

  • theo b-p

    fuck off you useless pretentious wankcheese. if you wouldn't mind graduating we'll have one cunt fewer. prick

    • Juan

      If you don't shut it me and the Juandem are gonna come merk you.

  • On the ball

    Just spat on some knob who tried to spray me with cava. Fucking jokes.

    • Know dat feel bro

      Some knob who I was spraying with cava just spat on me! Fucking killjoy.

  • Stephen Hawking

    "using your stronger to gently twist and ever-so-slightly pull the bottle in a smooth downwards motion"

    Makes no difference. Frames of reference mate.

  • Da f***

    This article is one of the more embarrassing reflections on Cambridge I've read. The Champagne/cava thing is, as you say, 'a wonderful Cantabrigian tradition', one I'm unashamedly (for once) proud of, but an instruction manual of do's and don'ts, in the form of this painstaking deconstruction seems to take all the fun out of it. Poor form tab- Cambridge quasi-intellectual assessment of soaking your mates in booze and getting pissed? Yawn

  • Clearlyjust a novice

    'This is a contentious point, but in the proper execution of a Cambridge dousing, the true veteran follows this method.'
    Who are these true veterans then? You're one of them I take it, Juan? Nob

  • Juan

    sucks bare dick

  • Who is


  • Juan

    Hey Juan, I saw you on Friday outside Senate House. For a small man, you've got a lot of confidence. I just wanted to comment to commend you for that. Most people with a stature resembling yours would cower from the public eye, but you continuously write (exceptionally well I might add) and add value to the Cambridge community. I hope you're hanging around next year, and will continue to work for The Tab. Hooray for Juan the Oompa Lumpa.

  • this….

    sounds like my sex life

  • Nick Davies

    Tab banter was shit back in the day, good job i’m here to spice things up a bit eh #GeneralDavies #theboisareback

    • Rett Babram

      Seeing how shit tab comments were a mere year ago gives new hope to the Oxford tab.

      • Bandy Uchan

        Shit Rett, what they gonna do when we graduate and fly to the moon? #natscicareers

  • Don’t want to be a twat

    but last year I had three exams which weren’t my last, but were clearly other people’s last, and being doused in cheap smelly cava whilst I still had other exams to do was a bit shit

    • Get over it

      You miserable fuck head.

      • at least

        spray the good stuff, ‘fuck head’.

  • Dr Who

    Well this is a mindfuck

  • Johann Gruber de Los Angeles

    I have returned! Beware, Mark Liu!

    • Does anyone

      even go here?

  • This article seems familiar

    I thought they wrote a similar article last year, but I can’t find it. Am I just going crazy?

  • Reverse-hipster-ergo-even-more-hipster

    I commented on this article after it was cool.

  • old cunt from oxford

    only a proper trashing when there are rotten fish involved

  • Juan

    Just to make sure it’s been noted, this article is also a metaphor for the exceptional, thorough and concerted application of my love-making whilst a Cambridge undergraduate.

  • Big D Cowan

    Cava is so elitist it’s disgusting. That’s why when I’m CUCA chairman we’re modernising, being in touch with the common peeps and replacing ”cake and cava” with cake and special brew.

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