We finally made it to Venice. For ages, I had dreamed of walking down its cobblestone streets while gondolas gracefully pass by, the smell of salt water and pasta wafts through the air and the sound of Italian music floats through the alleys. We had made it. We had bought the tour books and mapped out our tour route for each day. The books warned us about getting lost in the city, but we were ready. At least we thought we were. Within hours of being in Venice, the streets and alleys began to blur into each other. Finding anything was next to impossible and of course our little bed and breakfast was tucked in the smallest corner of this beautiful city.
Of course, if we were spending any time in this historical city, we were going to pay homage to the birth of the bellini at Harry’s Bar. Any drink that can be widely accepted at breakfast, lunch and beyond is a cocktail worth respecting. But our task proved to be more challenging than we anticipated. Our adventure took us through back alleys and dead ends. Locals stared at us, unwilling to help us – we were just another group of tourists who had no clue how to get around. We finally stumbled onto its modest entrance. A small door with the name “Harry’s Bar” humbly displayed over the window.
We opened the door, holding our breath as we felt transported back to the 1930’s. The big windows let in the daylight, highlighting the antique tables, chairs and silverware. We imagined where Hemingway must have sat, what Charlie Chaplin drank and what Hitchcock ate. We felt slightly underdressed as waiters in white suit jackets passed by us. We grabbed a seat at the long bar, eye-to-eye with the barman in front of us. He knew what we were there for but he was patient enough to nod in our direction, waiting for us to order.
We watched him make the cocktail. It was as if he was on autopilot. How many times a day did he have to make this drink? He placed the small glass in front of us, was this it? It felt anticlimactic, was this the bellini we had heard so much about? I expected a big production for this infamous cocktail. But like any expert knows, you let the the product speak for itself. And this drink lived up to the hype. It was slightly tart followed by a sweet citrus taste. The prosecco went straight to my head and the peaches lingered on my tongue. It was refreshing and went down quickly. Too quickly.
The barman saw us mourning over our empty glasses. He poured what was left from the blender into our glasses, giving us a second chance to savour this refreshing cocktail. We had learned from our mistakes. We sipped it slowly though we desperately wanted to gulp it down. It was too good not to!
So this recipe is my take on the Bellini. Indulge in these cocktails, because Spring is here and that means that drinks on the patio is not far away. Use up the frozen peaches in your freezer since fresh peaches aren’t in season. I had some extra white peaches in the back of my freezer so I added a few raspberries to get the pretty colour. Puree the peaches and then chill in the fridge until ready to serve.
- 4 white peachs, peeled and cored
- 4-5 raspberries
- 1 bottle of prosecco
- simple syrup
- mint or lime zest
- Cut the peaches into chunks and place in the blender. Puree until there are no solid pieces left. Blend one raspberry at a time until you get the desired pink colour. Pour through a strainer into a jug.
- Add 1 part peach puree to 3 parts prosecco in a tall glass and stir. Taste and then add simple syrup until your desired sweetness. Serve chilled and garnish with a mint sprig and/or lime zest.