What’s better than a glass of bubbly after a hot and sizzling summer’s day? Well not a lot, but I can think of something better; a Bellini. Combining a fine sparkling wine together with the fresh, natural sweet elegant notes of peach! You will be in heaven for a split second; the moment you’ll take your first sip. This drink is perfect during the summer months, like now in the Cape, but is also a winner during winter, when the sweetness of the peaches together with the bubbly will lift you up! No wonder this is one of the most famous and best-selling cocktails in luxury hotel-bars all over the world! The whole year round! But, having said that, I recommend this cocktail only with fresh, homemade peach purée, preferable homemade from the wild ‘donut-style’ peaches, the ones with the white flesh. In French these type is called pêche plat or pêche sausage. So now here is the problem: These peaches are not available whole year round. Therefore I recommend to make big batches of the purée during peach season, and freeze! Problem solve and now you can enjoy this simple, but delicious apéritif whole year round.
The Bellini cocktail was made for the first time in 1948 in Venice, Italy. In Harry’s bar, a popular bar-restaurant close to the Piazzo San Marco and the Canal Grande. The story goes there was this Italian waiter, Giuseppe Cipriano (also the inventor of the Carpaccio – but that’s for another time), who invented this divine drink. He named his new cocktail ‘Bellini’, after the well-known fifteen’s century Venetian painter Giovanni Bellini. The artist painted lots of saints and often he chose a soft pink, peachy colour for the garbs. When waiter Giuseppe Cipriano created his new apéritif for the first time, the colour reminded him of the paintings of the famous Giovanni Bellini. And the Bellini cocktail was born.
Today I’ll share the simple recipe for this delicious bubbly & wild peach based cocktail. Official, speaking about an Italian apéritif, this cocktail is made with Prosecco. But of course you can also use Méthode Cap Classique (SA), Cava (Spanish), Champagne (French) or Sekt (German) for it.
Ingredients (for 4-6 glasses) – keep in mind purée must cool in fridge for at least 1,5 hour
4 big or 8 small peaches (preferable the wild ‘donut’ peaches with white flesh)
50-75 gram icing sugar (depending on how ripe and sweet the peaches are)
1 bottle of chilled bubbly (I used Graham Beck Brut)
optional: a dash of raspberry liquor
other: small saucepan, blender
1. Rinse and dry the peaches so the skin is clean. Shortly boil (not peel yet) them in a small saucepan with (mineral) water, take them out and allow to cool. Keep the boiling water for later use.
2. Take out the core of the fruits, but still keep the skin on, cut peaches in big chunks and blend (skin and flesh) together with the sugar and a few tablespoons of the boiling water you saved. Purée until you’re happy with thickness (if you are not happy with thickness you can always strain it but this shouldn’t be necessary). Put the purée for about 1,5-2 hours in a cold fridge, together with the sparkling wine. Make sure both are cold before serving.
3. Cocktail hour! Take your Champagne flûtes and fill them with about 1/3 of the purée and 2/3 of bubbly. Stir. Optionally add a dash of raspberry liquor. I used a little bit of the delicious Wildebraam Raspberry liquor from the Berry Farm in Swellendam. Stir again, and…. Cheers!
* Note: It is easy to change this cocktail into a non-alcoholic apéritif. Simply replace the bubbly for soda water, lemonade, or a sparkling fruit juice. When you’d like to use raspberry liquor, replace this for a non-alcoholic red fruit syrup. Children, pregnant women and people who just don’t drink alcohol, now can enjoy their Virgin-style Bellini. Perfect for big groups and families.