Beating the Heat

Mario Batali Ices His Wine and Longs for the Ice Cream of His Youth

Photo: Melissa Hom

Last night on the rooftop of the James Hotel, Mario Batali debuted a new video series called Decisions With Mario Batali alongside corporate partner Bing. But everyone, including Molto Mario, was really thinking about the heat. He admitted he’s not the type who will lay out when it’s warm — “Look at me — if I overconsider my midnight snack by the light of the refrigerator itself, I get a sunburn” — but did fess up to a few heat-beating techniques, namely rhubarb sundaes that remind him of childhood Creamsicles, and ice cubes in his rosé.

“I like to take cubes of very light simple syrup and put fruit in them, freeze those really hard and then drop those into my rosé wine,” he told Grub Street. But wait — isn’t dropping ice into your wine sort of faux pas? “If you’re with a winemaker, maybe I wouldn’t do it,” Batali says. “But Americans think room temperature is the proper temperature for red wine and it isn’t; it’s cellar temperature. So I’m looking for 57 degrees and I’ll do what it takes to get there. These days, I’m drinking my white wine a little warmer and my red a little colder.”

Of course, that’s not the only way Batals keeps cool. Given that the guy runs a gelato cart, we figured it was only right to inquire about his own ice-cream habits. “In my heart of hearts, what I’m really looking for is the re-creation of the Creamsicle of my early days,” he tells us. “You know, from chasing down the ice-cream truck. Back then, the Popsicles were for the kids with the cheap parents who only gave them 69 cents. Whereas the Creamsicle, that was $1.20 and my ultimate hit. As an adult, the soury-sweet part of vanilla ice cream with rhubarb compote and fresh blackberries gets me there.”

Mario Batali Ices His Wine and Longs for the Ice Cream of His Youth