The Bellini: A Two-Ingredient Marvel



I'm guilty. Guilty of trying too hard to make something taste good, when sometimes nature provides a thing that with the least human intervention rivals anything made by man. I'm not a misanthrope or primitivist. I understand these things are here for our enjoyment but, upon tasting the first local white peaches of the season, my heart melts and I realize just how inadequate our designs are.

I submit the Bellini, a cocktail of such repute that it is known worldwide. Giuseppe Cipriani invented the drink at Harry's Bar in Venice in the late 1940s to showcase local white peaches, and named it for the luscious soft color tones of Giovanni Bellini's paintings. To the white peaches he added a local sparkling wine, Prosecco.

If left long enough, the peaches will ferment by themselves, so in a sense they already long for the tingling sensation of bubbly. By adding wine we are only speeding the process.

Prosecco is the perfect vehicle for the white peaches. Contrary to what most people think, Prosecco is not commonly sweet. While there are some sweet versions, more often than not Prosecco is dry with a touch of grassy character and citrus-like acidity. And like the peaches waiting for the bubbles of Prosecco, the Prosecco is waiting for the peaches.

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In honor of their perfect match, I must insist that you strike the following words from your vocabulary: Bellini mix. If you see a can of Bellini mix, even emblazoned with the name Cipriani, start a riot. When made well the Bellini consists of only these two ingredients: chilled fresh white peach puree and Prosecco. Measure one third of the puree to two thirds Prosecco. Serve. If you must add anything, add a few fresh raspberries. This adds a tiny bit of color.

The simplicity of the Bellini is astounding and its flavor magnificent. You needn't be a mixologist or bartender to make it. You don't have to own a crystal flute, Japanese barspoon, or gilded shaker either. The cut of ice doesn't matter. Nature herself has ordained this wonderful union, and it is ours to enjoy.