Beautiful Bellini cocktails are a treat for the eye as well as the palate. The rich pinkish orange hue filling a tall elegant champagne flute, mottled with the chill of condensation, promises the delight of a fruity fizz of fun with family & friends, as it is most often a relaxed informal celebration and occasion drink, rather than being fiercely formal (hence the use of Prosecco instead of its more stuffy rival, Champagne…).
The Bellini is iconically Italian – both fun and stylish – having originated in the progressive era of the mid-20th Century in Venice, made up of a mixture of Prosecco sparkling wine, white peach purée and a little raspberry or cherry juice, sourced within Italian shores.
Harry’s Bar founder Giuseppe Cipriani is said to have invented the mixed drink as a summertime tipple, and in typically cultured Italian form, the name ‘The Bellini’ was inspired by the Renaissance artist Giovanni Bellini, who had painted the toga of a saint, in the 15th Century, in the same pink colour. Harry’s bar was a fashionable venue in Venice frequented by the likes of Orson Welles and Ernest Hemmingway. It soon had an equivalent in New York, and before long the Bellini was an international phenomenon and is now recognised as an official cocktail by the International Bartenders Association.
Bellini cocktails are simply made with just two main ingredients:
- 1 part chilled white peach puree (never use yellow peaches)
- 3 parts chilled Prosecco (other sparkling wine will suffice – but champagne is a little overpowering)
- In addition, sugar or a simple syrup (raspberry or cherry) can be added if the puree is too tart or a tad sour
Ideally you want a 3:1 ratio of Prosecco as peach – so 1/4 fruit and 3/4 fizz…
- Ensure everything is chilled beforehand (the glasses, Prosecco and white peach puree)
- Add the white peach puree to a champagne flute. If you can, use fresh frozen white peach puree, but if you intend creating your own puree, don’t use a food processor as it aerates the fruit. Instead, use a shredder, such as a cheese shredder, to shred the peaches, and use a strainer to collect as much juice as possible.
- Then gently pour chilled Prosecco into the glass
- Leave the peach puree undisturbed at the bottom of the glass
- Just before serving, gently stir to mix the peach and Prosecco
Bellini purists may disagree, but, you can replace the peach, depending on taste, or whatever you have to hand…
• Puccini – mandarin juice
• Rossini – strawberry puree
• Tintoretto – pomegranate juice
The combination of fruit and fizz makes this drink an ideal aperitif, or a special breakfast or brunch tipple, for Christmas, or a wedding… There is also a child / designated driver / tee-total version called a Baby Bellini, which is the non-alcoholic version; simply replace the alcohol of the Prosecco with the fervent feisty fizz of ginger ale…
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