Sunday, August 30, 2009


I've never had a drink made entirely of white peach puree and Prosecco, and I have to admit, Thursday night's cocktail was the best Bellini I have ever tasted. In a former life long, long, ago I had dinner alone at the bar of the Ritz Carlton in Philadelphia, PA. A man down the bar began sending drinks my way. Three, all champagne-based. The first was a Kir Royale: champagne and Chambord raspberry liqueur or Creme de Cassis. The second was a champagne cocktail: champagne with a cube of sugar and Angostura bitters. And the third was a Bellini. But the bartender messed up: he used peach schnapps instead of just plain peaches. As classy as my admirer's move was, I enjoyed the drinks heartily, nodded at him from across the bar, and retired to my room seule.

If he was dumb enough to send them, I'm dumb enough to enjoy them. But NOT dumb enough for anything else.

In honor of our impending second honeymoon - I know, I know, are you EVER going to depart?!? We tend to plan way ahead and have as much fun looking forward to it as the actual trip -I figured we'd have authentic bellinis for our biweekly Thursday-before-Mike's-Friday-off cocktail.

What is an authentic bellini, you ask? Per Harry's Bar (where they were invented):

Created sometime in the thirties by Giuseppe Cipriani, he christened his white peach cocktail "the Bellini" (after Giovanni Bellini, the fifteenth century Venetian painter) in 1948.

Made with Prosecco instead of Champagne, it is nevertheless widely regarded as the best Champagne cocktail in the world. When making a Bellini, everything (the glasses, Prosecco and white peach puree) should be as cold as possible. The general rule is to use one part white peach puree to three parts Prosecco.

Use fresh frozen white peach puree when you can, but when making your own puree, never use a food processor because it aerates the fruit. (Maurice Graham Henry often uses a cheese
shredder, shredding the peaches and using a strainer to collect the maximum amount of juice.) Add a bit of sugar or some simple syrup if the puree is too tart or a tad sour. And absolutely never use yellow peaches to make a Bellini.

Ever had a Bellini somewhere other than at a Cipriani restaurant that just tasted terrible? The barman probably threw in entirely unnecessary additional ingredients (like peach schnapps).

And in my usual way, I have to take all this fancy-pants champagne talk down a notch or two: nothing, absolutely nothing goes with champagne and derivative drinks better than boiled peanuts.

It is a lovely day here in beautiful Downtown Burbank, ah, I mean Jackson. The weather is a low, low 72 degrees in August, for Pete's sake, and rain is intermittently softly falling as a system slowly moves over the Southeast. Mike and I are somewhat worn out from yesterday's ski adventure. Six runs on an almost deserted Pearl River was just what we needed! Dante is snoozing on the couch, all the windows and doors are thrown open, and spaghetti sauce with meatballs are simmering on the stove.


Sweet and Savory said...

This is an elegant drink and you have an elegant blog. I love looking at your photos.


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