This week Jacopo is back with his twist on one of Italy’s most well-known and beloved drinks: the Bellini. Invented in Venice in the late 1930’s by Giuseppe Cipriani of Harry’s Bar, a favorite spot of brooding American and English writers, such as Ernest Hemmingway, the drink was named after its color, an inviting peachy pink that reminded Cipriani of a saint’s toga in one of the famed Venetian artist Bellini’s painting.
Today the drink is served throughout Venice, using the traditional ingredients of Prosecco, the Veneto’s sparkling white wine, and peach puree. It’s sweet taste and satisfying bubbles also offer a desirable alternative to those who pass on the Veneto’s other popular aperitivo, the bitter Spritz. Below, Jacopo explains his take, showing the traditional recipe’s versatility by substituting a local American sparkling wine for Prosecco and using pears instead of the traditional peaches.
Notes from Jacopo:
As everyone knows, Italians love to enjoy their drinks and the best time of day to sip on a cocktail in Italy is during the aperitivo. The ‘apertivo,‘ for us Italians is synonymous to ‘Happy Hour’ for Americans. For this drink, I took my inspiration from one of the most famous aperitivo cocktails, the Bellini. The Bellini is a classic Venetian cocktail made with peach puree and Prosecco. My spin on this classic cocktail substitutes poached pears for peaches and a delicious cinnamon sugar rim. I am constantly searching for the perfect cocktail to compliment some of the most popular dishes in my restaurant. This drink pairs beautifully with poached pear salad… its light, refreshing and classy. This elegant yet simple concoction is also perfect for any cocktail party that you are planning to host at home.
- 3 pieces of poached pear muddled with (see preparation for details)
- 3/4 Pear nectar or juice
- 2oz Champagne
- Garnish: Pear skewers
- Make the poached pear. Begin by placing 4 quarts red wine, 1 quart of sugar, 3 cinnamon sticks, 2 star anise in a pot. Bring to a boil so the sugar can dissolve and lower to a simmer, add 5 pears and cover them with a towel leaving them to simmer. Leave for approximately 20 min or until tender, depending on the size.
- In a mixing glass , muddle the pear with the pear nectar, once a uniform puree is created, add the ice and 1/2 oz of Champagne, and slowly stir. When the champagne stops foaming, add the other 1.1/2 oz. Serve it chilled in a flute glass.
- Enjoy! The color is dark pink with red veins, the smell makes us think of fall afternoons, and the taste is balanced and yet refreshing. A very classy and refined cocktail. Perfect as a pre-dinner drink for your fall home dinners!
Tried your own take on the traditional bellini? Share your spin below!