Few things in life are as enjoyable as a glass of chilled wine on a hot day. While the chilliness of said glass shouldn’t be controversial, you probably know by now that is not the case.
The arguments against putting ice cubes in a glass of wine are sound enough. Unlike whisky or scotch, ice doesn’t make the flavor of wine more complex, but rather slowly waters it down. In addition, you may offend your host who spent time choosing a bottle with notes of citrus blossom for the occasion. Worst of all, as several French friends recently reminded me, you will seem very un-French.
But as Quartz food reporter (and fellow ice-in-wine advocate) Annaliese Griffin said to me recently, “a lot of wine rules are bullshit.” And really, she has a point. If, like me, you enjoy extremely chilled wine and the satisfying clink of cubes on glass as you drink, why on earth shouldn’t you indulge in that pleasure? Are you going to start letting an invisible band of etiquette devotees police how you enjoy the rest of your beverages, too? No, you are not. Life—and summer—are too short for that.
Once you get past feeling like a philistine for enjoying a few ice cubes, you see that there are myriad other benefits of pouring your wine over ice. Firstly, long summer drinking sessions—where the rosé begins flowing at 2pm and doesn’t stop until the wee hours—become much more manageable when you hydrate while you are drinking. Your wine becomes instantly more refreshing as you sweat through an outdoor wedding reception. And if you’re in the mood to be even more subversive and start drinking wine spritzers (check out Annaliese’s recipe for an easy-to-make summer spritzer here) you will find yourself in it for the long haul with nary a hangover in the morning, rather than prematurely sloppy by 10 pm. Who’s uncouth now?
Fortunately, the ice cube police seem to be losing ground. Even Moet and Chandon have released two varietals of their champagne specifically designed to be consumed over ice (take that, Frenchies). And according to Marissa Ross, the wine editor of Bon Appétit and author of Wine. All the Time., it’s totally cool to put ice in your wine—”the whole point of drinking wine is to enjoy it”—just avoid doing so with big, bold reds and make sure you avoid offending an oenophile host.
“Ask first if you’re a guest and the host is serving you a wine,” Ross told Quartz. “As someone who hosts a lot—and shares a lot of wine—I know there are some bottles I would be so bummed if someone threw ice in. I’d rather them tell me they’d like it cooler or maybe they don’t like it at all, and that way I could serve them something they will really enjoy instead of something they are just lukewarm about.”