First concocted in Venice in the late 1940s, the Bellini is a cocktail associated with all the glitz and glamour of post-war Italy. Its creator, Giuseppe Cipriani, named this iconic drink after the painter Giovanni Bellini, as the soft blush colour of the cocktail reminded him of a toga belonging to a saint in one of Bellini’s magnificent works. Originally served as a seasonal specialty in Harry’s Bar, Venice, this gorgeously fizzy aperitivo is now popular throughout Italy and is also enjoyed in stylish bars around the world. In the mid-twentieth century, Harry’s was an extremely alluring establishment, attracting many well-known stars over the years. It was a frequent watering hole of Ernest Hemingway, Humphrey Bogart and Truman Capote as well as the esteemed Italian conductor Arturo Toscanini and the American art collector Peggy Guggenheim.
The traditional Bellini is a delightful blend of puréed white peaches - succo di pesca - and classic Italian Prosecco, sometimes with an added splash of raspberry or cherry juice to emphasise its lovely pink tone. Given the widespread popularity of the Bellini, there are now several interesting variations on the original cocktail recipe, including a delicious raspberry option which can be made by substituting the peach purée for raspberry purée.
Peach Bellini Recipe
Prep Time: Less than 5 minutes (excluding purée)
- 500ml white peach purée/ nectar, or 4 ripe peaches
- 1 bottle Prosecco, chilled
- Peach slices to garnish, optional
- If using fresh peaches, peel and purée them, removing the stones and allowing to chill
- Pour ¼ cup peach purée (or nectar) into each Champagne flute, dividing any excess between your glasses
- Now pour a little Prosecco into each glass and combine with the purée using a spoon
- Top up the glasses with Prosecco until they are full, pouring gently to stop your bubbles escaping
- Garnish each Bellini with a peach slice and serve
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