I can say with absolute certainty that I’m a food snob. As for wine—not so much. You can catch me tossing ice cubes into my Sauvignon Blanc on a regular basis, and you know what? I don’t even care. I just like booze better when it’s really cold. Imagine my joy upon discovering that a few French winemakers have created something called ice Champagne.
Classic Champagne houses Moët & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot, and Pommery have all released editions of their own blends of Champagne to be enjoyed over ice. While I’m sure many of you are upset at the very idea of watering down a glass of bubbly, know that unlike the bottle you have your fridge right now, these blends of ice Champagne are specifically brewed sweeter and more intense, only to be balanced with the addition of ice.
Known as Champagne à la piscine, or “at the pool,” ice Champagne is marketed more toward those who would order frosé over a French 75, but people in some parts of France have enjoyed classic Champagne this way for years, and the tradition is far from gauche.
“In St. Tropez, people have been drinking Champagne [over ice] since the 1960s,” Champagne expert Caroline Brun told Bloomberg. “It’s a fresher way to drink Champagne, which, as you know, can be enjoyed anywhere, anytime.”
Perhaps the most intriguing thing about ice Champagne is that it slants in the direction of a cocktail ingredient as opposed to a standalone beverage, making it infinitely more oriented towards the brunch set. Veuve Clicquot describes their ice Champagne, Rich, on their website as “a champagne dedicated to mixology.” They recommend filling a wine glass with ice, adding few chunks of pineapple, cucumber, or even a splash of black tea—then pouring in the bubbly.
Champagne producers feel that adding ice and other ingredients removes some of the perceived pretentiousness of the drink. Benoît Gouez, the head of winemaking at Moët & Chandon, created Moët Ice Impérial to cater to a new generation of Champagne-drinkers. He told the New York Times that Champagne is now more of a party drink, for young people who “are looking for more freedom, a more casual approach [to drinking]”
Not convinced? Maybe BIll Murray can persuade you. After all, he told Dazed that he specifically prefers to drink bubbly in a big pint glass with ice. “The problem people have with Champagne is they drink it and they crash with it, because the sugar content is so high and you get really dehydrated,” Murray said. “But if you can get the ice in it, you can drink it supremely cold and at the same time you're getting the melting ice, so it's like a hydration level, and you can stay at this great level for a whole weekend.”
As someone who’s had to crash early after too many boozy brunches, I think he’s really onto something.