HAPPY HOUR – THE BELLINI

Not everyone associates sparkling wines with art, but if you are born in Venice, you might do it by nature. So did Giovanni Cipriani, owner and founder of the famous Harry’s Bar. On creating a cocktail in the 1930s, Cipriani decided to name it after Venetian painter Giovanni Bellini, because its delicate colour reminded him of a saint’s robe in one of the artists’ works that he’d seen in a local church. And The Bellini was born – the perfect bubbly and fruity drink to enjoy at the beginning of summer, when it’s hot and sticky outside and people find refuge in cool, enchanting churches…

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  • 10ml dry Prosecco (not Champagne! This is a Venetian cocktail so you make it with Prosecco, plus it needs more fizz than what a good Champagne generally offers)
  • 50ml white peach purée (avoid peach juice and yellow peaches; the juice won’t give you the dense, frothy consistency that you need and the white peaches’ more delicate taste goes better with the bubbles)
  • 2 or 3 raspberries to add to the colour – optional

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Mush two white peaches until they are reduced to a liquid purée (you can use a food blender). Pour the right amount of pulp into a chilled Champagne flute and add the Prosecco very very slowly – if you do it too fast the drink bubbles up and it’s difficult to get the whole of it into the glass. Then stir really gently and add another splash of bubbly to give it a little foam at the top. And if you like your Bellini a little pinker, then mix the raspberries with the peaches before you start.

A couple of notes: If your glass is small, forget the quantities and stick to a 2 to 1 ratio in favour of Prosecco. And finally, try drinking one while nibbling on grissini and Parma Ham. It’s a great combination, just like prosciutto e melone – a little bit like heaven…

LADYLAND - San Zaccaria Altarpiece by Giovanni Bellini

San Zaccaria Altarpiece, Giovanni Bellini, 1505, oil on canvas – San Zaccaria, Venice, Italy

Photography: Dee Ramadan
Styling: Margherita Poggiali

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