The bellini cocktail, much the same as the establishment that made it famous is shrouded in more than a little mystique. Giuseppe Cipriani established Harry's Bar in Venice during the 1920's and legend has it that the young Giuseppe loaned a princely sum to a wealthy, but spendthrifty American lacking the funds to travel home. As reward for the bartender's generosity, the American tourist, Harry Pickering, returned to Venice and funded Giuseppe's dream, his own cocktail bar - Harry's Bar.
These days, Harry's Bar is considered a destination de rigueur for those traveling to Venice, despite its breathtaking prices. The drink, a seemingly simple mixture of sparkling wine and white peach juice is the most popular item on the list. Of course, white peach juice is not easy to come across so you will most likely have to make your own. This is where things can fall apart. In Australia, peaches are in high Season during December and January, so I thought this cocktail would make the perfect New Year's Eve tipple. I set about juicing white peaches in a juice extractor and was aghast at the result - instead of pale nectar; I had made a murky brown liquid. A little research illustrated my error. The reason Bellinis are so exorbitantly expensive at Harry's Bar is due to the fact that the juice is squeezed out of the peaches by hand!
They make a wonderful, celebratory summer drink. Traditionally, prosecco, or Italian dry sparkling wine is used, but you could use any good quality dry sparkling wine.
1 bottle prosecco (or other dry sparkling wine)
Slice the peaches in half (you will need at least 6, but it's safer to get more) and firmly squeeze the juicy pulp into a bowl. Pass the pulp through your finest mesh sieve so you are left with just the blush-tinted juice.
For each cocktail, pour into a chilled champagne flute 30 ml (1 fl oz) of peach juice. Top up with 100 ml (3 fl oz) of prosecco and add a dash of sugar syrup, depending on how sweet the peaches are.
These would be perfect served with some White nectarines with prosciutto
If you are in the area and have plenty of folding, why not try the original?
San Marco 1323
Tel. 041 5285777 R.A.
FAX 041 5208822