The Bellini cocktail may be the most delightful cocktail of them all. With just two ingredients (peach purée and Prosecco), it’s easy to craft. It’s also bubbly, sweet and peachy. Plus, it’s pleasantly pink. And who doesn’t like pink cocktails?
We’ll never forget the first time that we sipped Bellini cocktails at Harry’s Bar in Venice for a few reasons. First, we were in the exact spot where the Bellini was invented. Second, it tasted wonderful. And third, each Bellini cost us 22 euros.
Sure, that’s a bit pricey for one seemingly simple drink. But don’t forget that the Bellini is nearly as famous as the century-old bar. While we don’t typically spend money on pricey cocktails, drinking a Bellini at Harry’s is something you just do and evaluate later. We left Venice with no regrets in this regard.
Lately, we’ve been crafting fresh peach Bellinis at home since white peaches are in peak season. As we’ve quickly learned, the key to a great Bellini is speed. This is an ala minute drink that’s a sight to behold if done quickly and with the freshest ingredients.
And, when it’s no longer summer, we can still drink Bellinis. However, instead of crafting them at home, we can buy pre-made Bellini cocktails at the grocery store. Hooray!
What Is The Bellini Cocktail?
The Bellini is a two-ingredient cocktail crafted with peach purée and Prosecco. However, if you want to be technical, it’s actually a four-ingredient cocktail since the purée is made with fresh white peaches, lemon juice and simple syrup.
Regardless of the ingredient count, there’s do debate that the peach Bellini is a classic Italian cocktail that’s also a spritz. Other words to describe the Bellini are elegant, fruity and fun.
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History Of The Bellini
We weren’t the first to sip Bellini cocktails in Venice and we won’t be the last. People have been sipping the peach and Prosecco spritz since 1948. That’s the year that Giuseppe Cipriani concocted the sparkling white wine cocktail at Harry’s Bar with a simple recipe – two parts Prosecco and one part white peach purée.
It didn’t take long for the Bellini to become famous throughout Italy and beyond. While it’s still served at the original Harry’s Bar in Venice as well as at Cipriani locations around the world, the Bellini isn’t limited to those spots. It’s easy to find the peachy cocktail on menus at most bars as well as at many restaurants that serve brunch.
Harry’s Bar also gets credit for serving the original version of beef carpaccio.
You may be wondering why Cipriani called his inspired recipe a Bellini instead of a Cipriani or even a Harry. Apparently, he got his inspiration from another Venetian – the artist Giovanni Bellini. Bellini’s San Zaccaria Altarpiece features an angel playing a violin wearing a rich peach/pink robe. Once you see the striking painting, you’ll understand Cipriani’s inspiration.
If you’ve been to Venice, you’ve probably walked by Harry’s Bar. The bar’s location, about a block from Piazza San Marco, makes it difficult to miss. Open since 1931, it’s located next to the Hotel Monaco, right by the Grand Canal.
And, if you’re like us, you channeled legends, past and present, including Humphrey Bogart, George Clooney, Ernest Hemingway and Orson Welles by simply walking inside the bar’s art deco space.
Bellini Cocktail Ingredients
You only need the following four ingredient to craft authentic Bellini cocktails at home:
Don’t give up if white peaches aren’t in season. We won’t judge you if you use yellow peaches or frozen peaches instead. However, you may need to doctor the drink with a bit of raspberry juice or Chambord, a raspberry liqueur, to achieve a pretty pink color.
While any sparkling wine would technically work in this recipe, we recommend using a good quality Italian Prosecco. After all, the Bellini is an Italian cocktail.
We like to use extra dry Prosecco produced by Albino Armani in the Veneto. It’s not expensive and, as a bonus, any leftover Prosecco tastes good on its own.
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Peach purée is easy to whip up with peaches, fresh lemon juice and simple syrup. For this recipe, the best peaches are white peaches.
We like to use Pessego Paragayo peaches (i.e. Paraguayan peaches). In America, these peaches are called donut peaches. However, we choose to call them bagel peaches since we love bagels even more than we love donuts.
How To Craft A Bellini Cocktail
The first step in this Bellini recipe is to make the peach purée. Start by cutting two medium or four small unpeeled white peaches in half. Discard the pits.
While some recipes specify that the peaches should be peeled, we like the color and texture that the peel provides. Just like we won’t judge you if you use yellow or frozen peaches, we also won’t judge you if you choose to peel your peaches.
Put the halved peaches, fresh lemon juice and simple syrup into a blender. Blend at high speed until the ingredients form a purée.
Taste the purée while it’s in the blender to see if you want to add any additional lemon juice or simple syrup.
Immediately pour the peach purée and Prosecco into a shaker or mixing glass.
Do not dilly-dally after you make the purée or the purée may turn brown.
Stir for about 5 seconds.
Pour the Bellini into your prettiest flute or champagne glass. We bought Riedel champagne wine glasses for this and other cocktail recipes but simple flutes work just fine.
Feel free to top of the Bellini with additional Prosecco. Spoon off any extra foam.
No garnishes are necessary though you may want to add peach slice or two.
Bellini Drink Alternatives
Giuseppe Cipriani’s recipe is pretty perfect on its own. However, here are some ways that you can make the Bellini recipe your own:
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A Bellini is sparkling white wine cocktail crafted with peach purée and Prosecco.
The Bellini and Mimosa are both two-ingredient sparkling wine cocktails. While the Bellini is made with peach purée and Prosecco, the Mimosa is made with orange juice and Champagne.
The Bellini was invented at Harry’s Bar in Venice, Italy.
Prosecco and Peach Purée
No. A traditional Bellini is made with peach purée and Prosecco.
Since the Bellini is an Italian cocktail, Prosecco is the best sparkling wine.
The Bellini is stirred, not shaken.
Did you craft this cocktail? If so, please rate the recipe below.
- Peach Purée
- 2 ounces Prosecco (plus extra as desired)
- 2 white peaches (2 medium or 4 small ripe white peaches, unpeeled, pitted and halved)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
- 2 tablespoons simple syrup
- Prepare peach purée by liquifying white peaches, lemon juice and simple sugar in a blender.
- Immediately pour two ounces of the peach purée into a shaker or mixing glass. Add six ounces of Prosecco and stir for 5 seconds.
- Pour into a flute or champagne wine glass.
- Optionally top off with an additional splash of Prosecco.
- Act quickly once you turn off the blender to avoid the purée turning brown.
- Optionally garnish with a fresh peach wedge.
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About The Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on their website 2foodtrippers. Since launching the site in 2012, they’ve traveled to over 40 countries in their quest to bring readers a unique taste of the world.
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Original Publication Date: July 21, 2023