By Martin Isark
Few years back my editor asked – was I available to go to Venice, via the Orient Express, to taste cocktails and interview Arrigo Cipriani, the proprietor of Venice’s legendary Harry’s Bar. I can’t see it being a problem was my reply!
Arrigo Cipriani, is the son of the late Giuseppe Cipriani, the founder of Harry’s Bar, and it was Giuseppe that created the atmosphere that was convivial for writers, like Earnest Hemingway, and actors like Charlie Chaplin to meet and chill-out. And it was Giuseppe that created the Bellini cocktail!
Over lunch, Arrigo explained that his father wanted to create a drink, for his customers that represented the best of the area’s local ingredients. He settled on the sweeter white fleshed peach (as the yellow fleshed are more acidic) and the almost flavourless sparkling Prosecco wine! He mixed the white peach and the Prosecco sparkling wine, grated in a little of the peach’s red skin to turn the mixture pink. He named it a Bellini after Giovanni Bellini, the famous Venetian painter, and the cocktail, now is as well known as Harry’s bar itself, was created.
Unfortunately, you have to go to Venice to get the original version as most cocktail barmen use expensive champagne and peach liquor and don’t even realise the pink colour is traditional and its served in a tumbler not a champagne flute. The proper version is cheaper to make – and tastes 10 times better!
How to make the original Giuseppe Cipriani Bellini
4 Glass tumblers
Prosecco sparkling wine (Not Cava or Champagne)
6 White fleshed peaches (or a bottle of fresh white peach puree)
Peel and stone the peaches. Save the skin
Gently puree the flesh.
Chill the Prosecco
Put two tablespoons of the white peach puree into the cocktail shaker.
Top up the shaker with the chilled Prosecco sparkling wine and stir until mixed.
Grate a little of the red part of the peach skin into the mixture until it turns a pale pink.
A quick shake and pour into a larger glass tumbler.
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