Weekly Cocktail #21: The Bellini

The Bellini.

It’s Red Haven peach season at Putney Farm, so now we need to use them. We made peach-lavender jam (recipe later today) and will be making peach preserves, peach butter and peach-vanilla ice cream. So we may as well make a cocktail. And if you have peaches, you might as well make Bellinis.

To be fair, Bellinis typically combine white peach purée and prosecco (think Italian champagne, but sweeter and much less complex). We don’t have white peaches or nectarines (yet), so we are using our Red Haven peaches. But to our tastes, that is a good thing, as yellow peaches have more acidity than white peaches and/or nectarines. And while we like Bellinis with white peach purée, they can be cloying a bit sweet- so using more balanced yellow peaches improves the cocktail and provides a better color. But regardless of the peaches you have, the Bellini is a light, sweet and “long” drink that is good for summer brunch and afternoon parties. And we like cocktails at brunch and afternoon parties.

Make the peach purée.

As for the origins of the Bellini, the dates are bit hazy. But we do know that Giuseppe Cipriani, owner of Harry’s Bar in Venice, created the Bellini sometime in the late 1930′s or early 1940′s. He named it after Giovanni Bellini, a renowned 15th-century Italian renaissance painter. Bellini’s paintings, as with many works of his era, tended toward darker hues and somewhat bleak subject matter. So the connection to sweet peaches and sparkling wine seems a bit tenuous. At least the name sounds good.

Muddle your peaches.

In any event, the Bellini was originally a seasonal cocktail to feature local white peaches, but someone figured out how to preserve peach purée and it became a year-round drink. And the recipe has become somewhat “fungible” over the last 70 years, and not always to the good. At one point the Ciprianis licensed the name and recipe to a company to mass-produce the Bellini and it was so terrible different they bought back the rights. And good for them, some things are only so “fungible”. In the end, if the peaches aren’t good, it might be best to make something else.

Fine-strain the muddled peaches.

But if you do have ripe peaches, then making a Bellini is worth the effort, but there are a few extra steps. Firstly, you need to make a peach purée. There are a few ways to do this. If you are making a big batch of Bellinis, you should skin (make an X on the bottom of the peach with a knife and then blanche for 20 seconds), pit and then puree the peaches in the blender. If making just a few, muddling and fine-straining the peaches will be faster (don’t worry about the skins). Then you need to taste your peach puree and your prosecco. If both are sweet, add a scant dash of lemon juice. If both are tart, a dash of simple syrup might be a good idea. And then you need to deal with the bubbles. Peach puree and prosecco create a lot of foam. And we mean a lot. It will take a few minutes to fill the flutes as the foam subsides. You just need to wait it out. Relax, eat a peach, maybe listen to the Allman Brothers.

A final note, if using champagne (and we don’t recommend it) use extra-dry or demi-sec, both are sweeter than Brut and will work better. But as Prosecco is almost always cheaper than Champagne, it is the right call and is readily available at most supermarkets or liquor stores. And when a Bellini is just right, it is a very tasty sip, and worth making. After all, if you have peaches, you need to use them…why not drink them?

The Bellini:

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. fresh peach puree
  • 4 oz. Prosecco (or sweeter champagne or sparkling wine)
  • Lemon juice (optional, to taste)
  • Simple syrup (optional, to taste)

Assemble:

  1. To make puree, expect 3 small or 1 large peach per serving. Pit the peaches. Muddle and then fine-strain to extract the puree.
  2. Add the peach puree and a few ice cubes to a cocktail shaker and shake to chill. Strain the puree into a chilled flute. Slowly add the prosecco, letting the foam settle, until full. Serve.
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20 thoughts on “Weekly Cocktail #21: The Bellini

  1. I’m sure the bellinis are lovely! But I really can’t wait for that jam recipe, sounds wonderful. And it sounds like you are doing a great job of using up some of your peaches! I bet the peach butter is great as well.

  2. Looks wonderful! I’m generally not one to drink much….but, your weekly cocktails always make me want to change my ways (however, not having a well stocked bar usually puts me back in my place). I really want to try this one, and I think I actually have all these ingredients. Yay! thanks!

    • Thanks for reading!

      This is a good, light “long” drink. Usually prosecco is only 10%-12% alcohol, so in combination with the peach puree it isn’t boozy at all. Hope you enjoy it!

  3. Pingback: Peach Lavender Jam « Putney Farm

  4. So that’s what you do with all those peaches. I don’t have that “problem” here in NYC. Thanks for checking out Fried Neck Bones…and Some Home Fries and the thumb’s up on “A Lime Cut Three Ways…” Your blog is a beauty.

    • Thanks for reading…

      Enjoying your blog…New York is still “home”, so always fun to see what’s going on…

      And we will be in NYC and Long Island soon and enjoyingthe east coast seafood…can’t wait!

  5. I just finished my first ever Bellini inspired by your beautiful recipe. Being a lazy bartender, I simply pureed the peaches. No fuss, no muss. I lacked the simple syrup so used grenadine instead and got a really gorgeous looking result that tasted mighty fine on a hot, humid Sunday afternoon. Thanks!

    • Cool- thx for reading. The main thing is to enjoy the cocktail, and it sounds like you did. And it does make sense to puree the peaches, particularly if you have a lot..

      • We are a group of volunteers and stritang a new scheme in our community. Your web site provided us with valuable info to work on. You have done a formidable job and our entire community will be thankful to you.

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  8. Pingback: Weekly Cocktail #24: Long Island Iced Tea « Putney Farm

  9. Pingback: Peach Bellini Cocktail | Recipes for a Healthy You

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