August is the month of vacances in France. Shops, bars, and restaurants close, and locals and tourists alike flock to the south in search of fresh air and warm sun. From Saint-Tropez to Marseille to the villages of the Luberon, people gather around a piscine—French for “swimming pool”—both literally and on the table. In addition to an actual pool, a piscine refers to wine elongated with ice. As revitalizing as its namesake, this drink both stays hyper cool in the summer heat and extends the time it takes to finish a glass so, should you like, you can keep drinking all afternoon, poolside or otherwise.
When it comes to the choice of wine for a piscine, rosé works especially nicely, and is common in the south of France. White wine? Perfectly acceptable. Bubbles? Absolutely. You could also piscine a kir, the classic French apéritif combination of dry white wine and black currant liqueur. Beyond the vin, the key to a superior piscine lies in: quality ice (ideally 1-inch cubes and, if you don’t remember the last time your filled your ice tray, toss it out and freeze fresh or run out and buy a bag); a big glass (oversize, stemmed wineglasses are classic, but any large glass will do); and, perhaps most important, an afternoon with not much else planned. The aim isn’t to inebriate, but rather to linger.
Pour a piscine by a piscine, sure, or on a balcony, a rooftop, at the kitchen table, or wherever else you find yourself this summer. And take your time: Add a bit more ice (keep a small ice bucket nearby), a bit more wine, repeat. —Rebekah Peppler
4 to 5 ounces
dry rosé or white wine, still or sparkling
If adding crème de cassis (use less for a drier drink, more for a sweeter one), pour it into a large wineglass. Fill the glass halfway with ice cubes and top with the wine. If you included crème de cassis, give the drink a swift stir.
Rebekah Peppler is an American writer and food stylist living in Paris. Her clients include the New York Times, Real Simple, Food Network, and multiple cookbooks. Her next book, Apéritif: Cocktail Hour the French Way (Clarkson Potter) will be released in October 2018. She is also the author of Honey, a Short Stack Edition. You can find more on rebekahpeppler.com and instagram.com/rebekahpeppler.