Skip to content

In the south of France, they’re pretty generous with les glaçons. It’s never any problem getting ice cubes, which are often brought to the table heaped in a bowl. And sometimes, they’re even already added to the carafe of rosé you’ve ordered, already for you. When ice is added to a drink, it’s called a piscine (pool) in France. Contrast that with Paris, where ice seems more precious than wine.

But you’ll need ice for drinking this Vin de pêche, an apéritif made with fresh peach leaves.

It’s a wonderful drink best made from young peach leaves, if you can manage to get some. They have the most flavor and add an almond-like aroma to the apéritif wine. You will want to add ice to it as it’s fortified with some brandy, to help it last longer.

If you don’t have access to a peach tree, ask a farmer at your local farmer’s market if they’ll bring you some. I’m pretty sure cherry or nectarine leaves will work, although I can’t vouch for any others. And of course, make sure the leaves are organic or unsprayed. Peach leaf wine will keep for months in the refrigerator. Serve it on its own or with a twist of lemon or orange, and, yes…ice, of course.

Vin de peche

I used a Saumur, but any inexpensive fruity red wine will work. Aperitifs like this are meant to be made with inexpensive red wine, so no need to feel like a cheapskate. You can easily increase the recipe if you’d like to take advantage of the availability of young peach leaves, which give the wine a surprisingly tasty almond flavor. Do check with your local cooperative extension or nursery first if you have any questions about whether your peach leaves are edible.
  • 40-50 young peach leaves, unsprayed
  • 1 bottle (750ml) fruity red wine
  • 3 tablespoons Cognac or brandy
  • 7 tablespoons (90g) sugar
  • Wipe the leaves with a damp cloth to remove any grit or debris. Pour boiling water into a large preserving jar to clean it. Let it stand for 10 minutes then pour out the water and invert the jar to dry.
  • When the jar or ready, mix together the red wine, peach leaves, Cognac, and sugar. (Don’t worry if the sugar isn’t quite dissolved; it will as it sits.)
  • Put in a place away from sunlight and let stand for ten days, agitating it once daily. After ten days, taste. If the almond flavor is to your liking, strain the vin de pêche into a wine bottle and put a cork in it. If it’s not quite there, let marinade another four days.


Storage: The peach leaf wine will keep for up to one year in the refrigerator or in a cool, dry place.

iced rosé



    • Ian

    Sounds delicious. I take it you remove the leaves after they’ve steeped for the week? Also, you’re looking for leaves that are basically still tender, right?

    • Abra

    I made almost exactly the same recipe last month with cherry tree leaves. The French have a thing for making good use of leaves, which add an aggreeable hit of tannin and outdoorsyness to the wine, and it’s fun. I haven’t tried it with ice, though. I’ll do that tomorrow. Thanks!

    • Angelica

    Sounds like something to get plastered on during a hot and long summer’s night. I like it!

    • Kathleen

    I’m so making this when it’s Summer here in Australia!

    • Cameron S

    I also hate it when restaurants fill the entire water glass with ice. Even worse when it is in a wine glass. :) Once I had water served to me in a cocktail glass which was an ill omen. I then suffered through the most pretentious, expensive and badly executed meal of my life.

    That looks delicious – I will have to find some peach leaves at the farmers market tomorrow.


    • Linda H

    The peaches on my peach trees are the size of golf balls. Does that mean the leaves are not young enough?

    • izzy’s mama

    Now I need to go raid a peach orchard. From where can ordinary people procure 40-50 organic peach leaves? I belong to a CSA so I will start there and then try Union Square (although I believe most of the peaches are not organic, just local). If I can’t find anything there, I am stumped. If they are IPM instead of organic will that do?

    • David

    Ian: You strain the mixture in step #3, and that’s when the leaves take leave from the wine.

    Linda H: The leaves should be tender and green, not tough and brittle.

    • Jessica

    Hmm. Our peach leaves have been out for a couple months now, though the peaches aren’t yet ripe (maybe 3-4 more weeks?). I wonder…

    • le petit cabinet de curiosites

    in the south , we need ice cubes !! Otherwise we “die ”

    • Randi

    Growing up in FL and Cali, I’m used to lots of ice. I can’t live without it actually, even in Winter in Ontario, I still use tons. Canada isnt really big on ice though so I always have to ask or extra or a separate glass. I remember when I was in England in 1996, I was stunned to see the lack of ice. I took to making my own in the hostels and carrying it with me in a little cooler( told you I love ice).

    • Kirstin

    Do the peach leaves actually add a peachy taste, or just an almond bite? Do you ever see a peach slice in the glass? This is a great recipe, thank you.

    • Pouria

    “Contrast that with Paris, where a drink with ice may have one puny cube roughly the size of a Tic-Tac, languishing on the surface, tepidly melting away.”

    Except for ‘happy hour’ when the drinks are 90% ice!

    • David

    Ha ha! I love that—so that’s where all the ice around here is going…

    • Barbra

    So true about Paris happy hour! The drinks look like “slushees”.

    I am definitely going to try the vin de peche. Thanks, David!

    • krysalia (france)

    my mother in law makes something like that but with myrtill leaves. She said that it can be done also with other berries.

    • Aleta (Paris)

    I had a delicious dessert souffle today at Le Souffle and was offered Vin de peche to drizzle on. It was aromatic without being overly alcoholic. Can’t wait to have more;

    • Sylvie, Rappahannock Cook & Kitchen Gardener

    non non David, ce n’est pas que les liquides glacés sont mauvais pour l’estomac – ils sont très mauvais pour les dents (l’émail des dents est fragile et pourrait se fêler si on mange quelque chose de chaud avec une boisson glacée!).

    Never mind that Americans have been drinking lots of ice for all their life and that teeth seem to be mighty fine. But that’s what one hears when growing up.

    Vin de peche is very nice made with white wine too. My grandmother used to make it using the leaves from the small “vine peach” trees – a varietal that was planted with grapes and other small fruit
    Thank you for this most timely (summer’s here) recipe.

    Sylvie R.

    • George Crocker

    The Perigourdins would say, and I agree, that it is best made in August and with a Bergerac moelleux. Delicious.

    • Jack Etsweiler

    The property next to ours, out in the bucolic countryside, has a number of unloved peach trees. Since I’m tending to their hanging flower baskets during their vacation, and since it’s been an unseasonably-cool Summer, I suspect that harvesting a hundred or so young peach leaves should not be difficult. I’ll take George Crocker’s recommendation of the Bergerac under advisement, since it’s easily available here in Ann Arbor. I’m going to use a sun-tea sort of vessel, with that lovely spigot toward the bottom for convenient serving without removing it from the nice cold fridge!

    • Melissa

    Hmmmm, my neighbor lady used to always make that with a white wine but I remember she would put the leaves in alcool à 90 for a few days and then add the wine and sugar. I think that’s how she made her vin de noix aussi. And it seemed like more than 3 Tbs. But then… she was making in quantity!

    • Leslie

    Made this over the summer and it rocked. I’m wondering if you have a suggestion for a type of white wine to use instead of the red — just wanted to try it & see.
    I’m so happy your site is back up. Thank the cybergods.

    • David
    David Lebovitz

    I would be wary of using white wine, as it might turn an unappealing color. Maybe try rosé? But if you do use white (or rosé), please let me know how it turns out.

    • Charles Fortner

    I’ll definitely give this a try next spring. I’m a no fear eater/drinker. There was considerable kerfuffel a few years back when horses in the bluegrass country were inexplicably dying-arsenic poisoning was blamed from their having eaten cherry leaves. That gives some credence to the old saying: “…enough to kill a horse.” But nobody ever told us how much we could eat. People seem to build up an immunity if arsenic is taken in small doses. I think it would take a huge amount of of arsenic or cyanide to bother a human. Seems as though many leaves and kernels from fruit trees contain minute amounts. I think we’ve become way too fearful. People have been making such cordials for centuries with no adverse effects;in fact it seems to be beneficial to the health of the skin and hair. I am a bit wary of those cordials containing vipers you see in the country in France. That having been said (and I appologize if it blighted anyone’s day), what I would like is to find a peach tree one often encounters in France-the peche de vin-they used to plant them in vineyards. The flesh is shot through with the color of dark red wine. If anyone knows where it is obtainable in this country I’d love to know.


Get David's newsletter sent right to your Inbox!


Sign up for my newsletter and get my FREE guidebook to the best bakeries and pastry shops in Paris...