It seems like the world’s most refreshing cocktails include just a bit of sparkling wine and some sweet fruit juices. Your current go-to may be a mid-morning mimosa, with some simple OJ and Champagne. But prepare to awaken your taste buds to a bubbly, brunch-time Bellini. Sit down Snoop, we no longer stand by Peaches N Cream. This summery sipper has us swearing by Peaches ‘n Prosecco.
The Bellini was created in Venice, Italy, in 1948. That’s less than 70 years ago, so it’s kind of cool to think that your grandparents or parents may have been present when the bodacious Bellini made its debut. In fact, the Bellini shares a birth year with the famous actor, Samuel L. Jackson. After finding that out, I was a little disappointed that my new favorite cocktail wasn’t named after my man SLJ, so I dug a little deeper for the real story behind the title.
Giuseppe Cipriani created the Bellini while acting as bartender and owner of Harry’s Bar. (Side note: Harry’s Bar is one of the most notorious restaurants in Italy, located just steps from the
Venetian waterfront, and Cipriani was very much the heart and soul of it.) Cipriani was a huge fan of art, especially artwork created by Italian painters, a nod to his heritage. He was particularly consumed by the work of Venetian Renaissance painter, Giovanni Bellini. It wasn’t his admiration of the painter alone that spurred the name for this delicious concoction. Cipriani wasn’t just like, “The drink I mixed is cool and Bellini seems cool so I’ll name it ‘Bellini.’” Giuseppe actually set out to create the cocktail to incorporate his passion of art with with his passion of … peaches.
Italy has a very successful growing season for peaches, stretching from June through September. Cipriani had an obsession with the scent of white peaches when ripened, and he set out to find a way to transform that scent into a beverage that invoked the same refreshing, summer experience. After pureeing the white peaches and experimenting with adding different quantities of Prosecco, he finally found the perfect combination. When he gazed upon this work of pure genius, the light pink hue of the beverage instantly jogged his memory to one of his favorite paintings. He thought immediately back to a Bellini painting that pictures a saint wearing a toga the same shade of pink as the liquid in his glass. Alas, the “Bellini” was named.
The Bellini immediately became one of the most popular menu items at Harry’s. As one of the most famous bars in Venice, Harry’s was bustling with intellectual celebrities, especially writers. In the years after the Bellini made the menu, Harry’s was frequented by Ernest Hemingway, Orson Welles, Truman Capote and Alfred Hitchcock. Clearly the Bellini was a drink for the intelligent. The question is: what came first? Was the Bellini a tool for celebrating their literature fame? Or was their intellectual prowess caused by consumption of the Bellini? The jury’s still out on that one, but the court of public my opinion says that more Bellinis = more brain power.
Advance your literary artistry like those accomplished authors by blending a Bellini of your own!
Makes 6-8 servings:
1 ½ pounds very ripe white peaches (about 6 peaches)
2 tbs fresh lemon juice
1 tbs sugar
1 bottle of Prosecco (750ml), chilled
- Bring a pot of water to a boil.
- Make two 1” cuts to form an “X” on the bottom of each peach.
- Place peaches in boiling water for about 30-40 seconds, until the skin starts to peel back from the cuts.
- Use a slotted spoon to remove the peaches from the boiling pot to and place them in a bowl of ice water.
- After they’ve cooled, peel the peaches, cut them in half and discard the pits.
- Puree the peaches with a blender or food processor until they’re smooth.
- Strain the puree into a pitcher. Use a sieve with a fine mesh for the straining.
- Add lemon juice and sugar to the puree. Stir until sugar is dissolved.
- Add Prosecco and stir slowly until mixture is combined.
- Divide between champagne flutes and garnish with any leftover slices of peach. Enjoy!
Not having a peach and pasta party for 6-8 people, but want to try a Bellini with a good read? We cut the recipe to one serving for you, because we know math can be hard. I calculated this halfway through my Bellini, so I’m sure I manifested enough mental strength to split the recipe accordingly. However, if you prefer your Bellini to be on the tart or sweet side, adjust the lemon juice and sugar accordingly.
Makes 1 serving:
¼ pound very ripe white peaches (about 1 peach)
⅓ tbs fresh lemon juice
⅙ tbs sugar
4 ounces of Prosecco (about 125ml), chilled
Bellini boot-camp is officially over, friends, but homework is due next week. Pick up your pencils, pour the Prosecco and don’t forget the peaches. There is much to be achieved, but with Bellini as your brain food to power you through, we’re sure you can handle it.