The Mimosa jockeys for star billing at brunch, but don’t overlook the sweet potential of the Bellini cocktail. While the two share a very pared down ingredient list—just two ingredients—I’d argue that the Bellini is the more complex and flavorful drink. What’s more, it’s incredibly easy to make a large batch to serve up for guests at your next brunch.
Where Did the Bellini Originate?
The Bellini cocktail can be traced back to Harry’s Bar in Venice during the 1940s. Head bartender Giuseppe Cipriani put this drink on the menu as a seasonal item, inspired by the notable scarcity of white peaches, which were only available for 4 months out of the year.
When peach pulp started to become commercially available year-round, the drink found itself a popular favorite at Harry’s Bar’s New York location. The drink was named the “Bellini” for the Italian Renaissance painter Giovani Bellini’s use of a blush color in his paintings. A few drops of raspberry juice were sometimes added to the drink to give it more of a pink color. However, blending the fresh white peaches with their skins also gives the drink a subtle blush color as well.
Peach Nectar is a Great Sub for This Cocktail!
While fresh peaches were the reason the drink was created—as Cipriani wanted to showcase their flavor in a drink—you can also use peach nectar as a successful substitute. Just keep in mind that nectar will give your drink more of a yellow color, so you may not get that “Bellini” blush look.
Get the Most Flavor Out of Your Peaches
To get the most flavor out of your peaches, here are a few tips:
- Keep the skins on! No need to peel your fresh peaches before blending them up into a puree. Once blended, the skins are just tiny flecks in the mix and don’t interfere with the texture, so save yourself the headache of peeling them! For this batched recipe, pit 5-6 medium peaches, roughly chop them, and then puree in a blender.
- You can use freshly frozen peaches if you’d like. For best flavor and texture, you don’t want to grab some old bag from the back of the freezer. Avoid using slices that have visible freezer burn! To avoid this, make your own freshly frozen peaches. Slice up a few ripe fruit—skin on!—and freeze individually on a sheet pan. Once frozen, pop them off the pan and store in an air-tight, freezer safe container for up to 3 months.
- Peach nectar and peach juice are different! Peach juice will solely be the puree from the peach with no sweeteners, however some brands will add in another fruit juice. Nectars are thicker in consistency and will have an added sweetener. The thicker puree will have a slightly different mouthfeel when drinking too.
If you have frozen peach puree or sorbet, scoop 2 ounces out, still frozen, and top with the Prosecco for a chilly twist on the drink.
Prosecco Makes a Bellini Magical
The second important ingredient here is the sparkling wine. There are many types of Italian sparkling wine available, such as Lambrusco, Franciacorta, and Asti Spumante, but for this Venetian drink, Prosecco, which also hails from Northern Italy, is specifically called for in the recipe. Within the Prosecco wines there are also varying levels of quality—no need to go breaking the bank with a top shelf bottle, just look for one labeled “Prosecco DOC,” which should get you a decent quality wine for mixing in the cocktail.
Batching Bellinis for a Crowd
The Bellini cocktail can be easily batched to serve a crowd at your next brunch or picnic, but it’s not something you can pre-batch and leave in the fridge overnight. Mix both the peach puree or nectar in a large pitcher, pour in the wine, give it a stir, and serve up to guests shortly thereafter.
The puree and wine will start to separate if left for too long, and those peppy bubbles will die down as well, so plan to make this just before your guests will be enjoying it!
Peach Bellini Cocktails
Keep the skins on! No need to peel your fresh peaches before blending them up into a puree. Once blended, the skins are just tiny flecks in the mix and don’t interfere with the texture.
Peach nectar can be swapped in for the peach puree 1:1. To make a single serving, combine 2 ounces or 1/4 cup of peach puree or nectar with 4 ounces of Prosecco. Stir gently to combine.
12 ounces (1 1/2 cups) peach puree (from about 5-6 ripe peaches)
1 (750 ml) bottle Prosecco
Make the peach puree:
Pit and roughly chop the peaches into 1/2 inch cubes. Add to a blender container and blend until smooth. If the peaches are on the firm side, add a tablespoon or two of water and blend again.
Make the peach bellini cocktail:
In a large pitcher, combine peach puree and the bottle of Prosecco. Gently stir to combine.
Serve in flute glasses immediately after making.
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|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 0g||0%|
|Saturated Fat 0g||0%|
|Total Carbohydrate 8g||3%|
|Dietary Fiber 1g||3%|
|Total Sugars 6g|
|Vitamin C 4mg||19%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|