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The Italian Bellini

Servings: 6
When making this cocktail, you should avoid using French Champagne, it's richness of flavor is not a good match for such a fruity cocktail, save this for a Champagne Cocktail, or a French 75 which provide a better use for it. A light, fruity, Italian style sparkling wine is the perfect accompanyment to the peach puree. I usually use a relatively inexpensive Asti Spumanti.

A true Bellini is a refreshing drink made with Sparkling Wine and Peach Puree. Many might compare this to a Mimosa, which is made with Orange Juice, but there really isn't much of a comparison.

The Bellini was first invented in 1948 at Harry's Bar in Venice Italy. Giuseppe Cipriani was the head bartender at the time, and had a strong fondness for for the Italian White Peaches. He worked long and hard trying to develop a perfect cocktail which would use them as a base, then he tried the simple combination of pureed white peaches and prosecco (Italian Sparkling Wine), and he knew he had something.

While many recipes exist for the Bellini, some of which might include Peach Schnapps or other additives attempting to provide the essence of peach to this drink, the only true way to make it is with white peach puree. Using fresh, ripe, and peeled white peaches, puree them to a very smooth consistancy. Admittedly, White Peaches might be hard to come by in your area, fresh or otherwise. Fortunately I have found an excellent commercial product that fits the bill perfectly. The Perfect Puree Company of Napa Valley offers many different types of restaurant puree's, one of them is "California White Peach Puree" and this product works excellently for making the Bellini, in fact since it produces far less of a "foam up" then fresh peach puree does, I feel it is even better than using fresh home-made puree.

This is a great summer cocktail!

For the kids or for your guests that don't drink, make the Bellini's with a lemon-lime soda such as Sprite or 7-Up, instead of the sparkling wine.

2/3 cup white peach purée
1 teaspoon raspberry purée
1 bottle chilled Prosecco, Asti Spumante Brut or other Italian sparkling dry white-wine or dry champagne

In the bottom of each flute or white-wine glass, pour about 1 1/2 tablespoons peach purée and add 2 or 3 drops of raspberry purée. Pour an equal amount of the wine into each glass and serve immediately.

Makes 6 servings.

If white peaches are not available, use yellow peach purée and omit the raspberry purée.

Date: June 25, 2007