Cipriani peach juice
The summer aperitif
Peaches and prosecco – summer in a glass. We are talking about the Bellini cocktail - the juice of white peaches mixed with sparkling wine producing a delicate apricot pink drink which seems to taste of the sun.
The Bellini was famously invented by Harry’s Bar in Venice back in the thirties – the hang out for the likes of Ernest Hemingway, Truman Capote and Orson Welles. It was named by Giuseppe Cipriani, the owner, because its delicate pink colour reminded him of a painting by Giovanni Bellini – the Venetian painter. The son of Giuseppe, Arrigo, wrote in his book about Harry’s Bar:
“The 15th century Venetian painter Giovanni Bellini was often mentioned at home. I had no idea at the time that the pink glow my father had so admired in one of Bellini’s paintings would be the inspiration for his famous cocktail. Peaches are in abundance throughout Italy from June to September, and my father had a predilection for the white ones. So much so, in fact, that he kept wondering whether there was a way to transform this magic fragrance into a drink he could offer at Harry’s Bar. He experimented by pureeing small white peaches and adding some prosecco. Those who tasted it gave it rave reviews. He named it the Bellini, and from that day on the pink champagne drink became part of the Harry’s Bar culture.”
The first stop for me on any trip to Venice has to be Harry’s Bar for this cocktail. In fact, I would go so far as to say it could be the reason for my visit. I have even done a Bellini tour of Venice with an itinerary designed to see as many Bellini paintings as I could, frequently interspersed with the need for refreshment of the same name!
I have tried to replicate it at home but finding white peaches of the same taste, and pressing them to extract their juice has not always been successful. Somehow it never tasted the same. Maybe because the peaches I could find in England were not the sun-filled ones found in the Mediterranean. Nor was the consistency the same, especially when made with a food processor. But now I have found that you can buy the Cipriani peach juice in the UK from a really interesting little company called Something Italian. I found that one bottle makes 3-4 cocktails. Put the peach juice in the bottom of a champagne glass and then top it up with the prosecco. Don’t be put off by the rather vivid colour of the packaging – the juice itself retains that amazing delicate pink colour. Serve it at a party with Delia’s Venetian Zabaglione Cake. So now you can have summer in a glass.
Summer in a glass
Cipriani Bellini Peach Mix
£2.25 bottle 180ml
4 bottles £9.50
24 bottles £48.00 - for a party
Availability and price as at 30th June 2019