Sunday, September 18, 2011

Bellissimo Bellinis!

Visiting Harry’s Bar is a must for any traveler to Venice, Italy.  After all, it is where Ernest Hemingway and Orson Welles took their libations, presumably for nourishment and artistic inspiration.  But it is also the home of the iconic Bellini cocktail.

My photo, of the photo of the Harry's Bar Venezia Bellini
(don't you love the view of Venezia in the base of the glass)

The Bellini was created by Harry’s Bar founder Giuseppe Cipriani sometime in the 1930s and was named in honor of the artist Giovanni Bellini because the drink’s color reminded Giuseppe of the color of a saint’s toga in one of Bellini’s paintings.  Whatever the derivation of the drink’s recipe and its name, there is nothing quite like the eager anticipation one feels after ordering a Bellini at Harry’s Bar and watching the bartender perform his magic.  So many Bellinis are served that nowadays their assemblage is somewhat production line in nature.  Containers of cold white peach puree are next to bottles of Prosecco in the refrigerator and Bellini glasses are lined up on the bar, chilling with ice, just waiting for the magic elixir.  I don’t know if Ernest put aside his daiquiris and mojitos, or Orson his Negronis, for a Bellini, but I cannot get enough of them.  

Two very important things to know about a Bellini:  (1) NEVER use yellow peaches and (2) NEVER puree the white peaches by machine.   

Every September, I purchase fresh white peaches and make white peach puree to freeze for use over the next year.  This enables me to have a Bellini anytime I want!  Trust me, there are plenty of Sunday mornings throughout the year when a Bellini is the perfect way to start the day.

This is my simple guide to preserving your own white peach puree to make a perfect Bellini.  For the lazy or those who cannot find white peaches, frozen white peach puree is an acceptable substitute.

Place sliced white peaches in food mill

After about 5 minutes of turning the mill, you end up with this rosy puree

Pour white peach puree into silicone ice trays to freeze for later use

White Peach Puree:

5 white peaches for puree

Simple Syrup (don’t use unless your peaches are not sweet enough)

Slice peaches and put into a food mill using the fine sieve.  Turn mill until you have pureed the peaches and the only thing left are remnants of the skin.

Taste for sweetness.  If the peach puree is too tart, sweeten with a little simple syrup.

Pour the peach puree into ice cube trays to freeze if you are not using within two days.

One cube frozen white peach puree

Cold Prosecco & chilled Champagne glass - The Bellini is almost complete!

Christy’s Bellini:

1 frozen white peach cube


Place a frozen white peach cube in a small glass prep bowl and allow to soften.  Place softened peach puree in a chilled champagne glass.  Pour Prosecco into the glass at an angle to prevent the champagne from overflowing.  Use a chopstick or cocktail stirrer to gently blend the peach puree and the Prosecco.  The general proportions are 1 part peach puree to 3 parts Prosecco.  Bellisimo!

Pour Prosecco into Champagne glass at an angle

A beautiful Bellini - wonder if the Bellini inspired Dale Chihuly.....

To purchase The Harry's Bar Cookbook:

Bring a little Harry's Bar to your home!



  1. You and I are on the same wave length today! I posted one of my favorite paintings of Venice on my FB page ~ go check it out.. I KNOW you'll appreciate it! Haven't been to Harry's in years. Will make your bellini with proseco instead.

  2. Mmmm, bellinis!! That just makes me weak.

    Christy, if you are wanting some flying dragons (the fruit) and can't find them there, I'd be happy to send you a small box of them. Honestly, the tree has well over 1000 fruit on it now. (I quit counting at 1000) It's not like I'm EVER going to use them all before they spoil.

    toby @ Plate Fodder

  3. seems you give me a great idea in making this...I know when I serve this on party surely a great hit. thanks for sharing.

  4. How do you puree the white peaches if you don't have a food mill?


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