I’m not a big cocktail drinker – give me a lovely glass of red wine and I’m perfectly content. That was before I discovered a Bellini at the famous Harry’s Bar, in Venice, Italy, where it is said to have originated. The traditional Bellini cocktail is made with a peach puree and Prosecco, an Italian sparkling wine often referred to as Italy’s version of champagne. Prosecco is actually quite different from champagne. It is made with different grapes and a different winemaking method.
Prosecco also comes in three different styles, brut, extra dry and dry. The most popular is the brut style and while that is considered very dry, don’t be put off by that fact as the grapes used in making it give off a fruity flavor making it seem sweeter than the label implies. For the Bellini, I would recommend using the brut style of Prosecco and look for the DOC or DOCG label on the spine of the bottle. It is an indication of quality and that the Prosecco comes from the proper Italian region.
So why make a Bellini? If you’re looking for something different than a mimosa and a drink that has a wow-factor for your next party – perhaps a New Year’s Celebration – you won’t be disappointed with this easy cocktail. While we’ve provided the traditional peach Bellini recipe, we’ve also added two additional flavors for a twist. They are ones that will match the different taste palettes of your guests but also make for a beautiful drink display.
For the peach Bellini, we recommend using fresh peaches. Fresh is always best! You can check out our How to Cut Peaches video, which features the 4" Paring Knife. That said, fresh peaches aren’t always available so you do have the option to use frozen fruit in this recipe.
Our twist on the traditional includes a variation that features strawberries. We hulled them and cut them in half with the Santoku-Style 3" Paring Knife.
Again, you have the option to use frozen strawberries, but this fruit tends to be more readily available throughout the year so I would encourage you to use fresh. Whether fresh or frozen, once you’ve pureed the strawberries, you’ll want to strain the puree through a fine-meshed strainer. This will remove all of the seeds, making the drink very smooth. We recommend straining all of the fruit purees to ensure you have the smoothest drink possible.
Our final twist, and perhaps the most surprising, is a grapefruit Bellini. This version is so refreshing, we were amazed at the blend of tart and sweet. You can learn how to section a grapefruit by checking out our How to Section Grapefruit infographic. We recommend using the 4" Gourmet Paring Knife for this process. It really makes the prep super easy. If you want a shortcut, you can use jarred grapefruit segments. Just make sure they are not in syrup and there is no additional sugar added. You want the pure tartness of the grapefruit to come through, otherwise this drink will be too sweet.
All of the purees can be made the day before your party so all you have to worry about is making sure you have enough Prosecco on hand. This Bellini Cocktail with a Twist is a show-stopper. It compliments appetizers quite well and can make the perfect toasting drink for your next New Year’s celebration. For a non-alcoholic version, substitute sparkling juice or seltzer in place of the Prosecco.
Our favorite version? Hard to say. The original peach Bellini has stood the test of time for a reason. It’s delicious. The strawberry Bellini produced a nice color and a softer taste with the use of the berries. The surprise was how much we all enjoyed the Grapefruit Bellini. Tart and sweet and perfectly refreshing. We hope you enjoy our Bellini Cocktail with a Twist – Cheers!
Bellini Cocktail with a Twist
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup water
- 2 cups of peaches, peeled and sliced or 1 (16-ounce) bag of frozen peaches, thawed
- 2 cups of strawberries, halved or 1 (16-ounce) bag of frozen strawberries, thawed
- 2 cups of pink or red grapefruit, sliced or 1 (16-ounce) jar of sliced grapefruit ? no sugar added
- 2-4 (750 ml) bottles Prosecco, chilled
- Fresh peaches, strawberries and grapefruit, for garnish
- In a large saucepan over medium heat, make a simple syrup by combining the water and sugar, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Cool completely.
- Peel and slice peaches, place into a blender and puree with 1/2 cup of the simple syrup until completely smooth. If using frozen peaches, make sure they are thawed and then puree with the same amount of simple syrup.
- Strain the peach mixture through a fine-meshed strainer into a bowl, cover and place in the refrigerator.
- Hull and halve strawberries, place into a clean blender and puree with 1/3 cup simple syrup until smooth. If using frozen strawberries, make sure they are thawed and then puree with the same amount of simple syrup.
- Strain the strawberry mixture through a fine-meshed strainer into a bowl, cover and place in the refrigerator.
- Cut grapefruit into segments, place into a clean blender and puree with 1/3 cup simple syrup until smooth. If using a jar of grapefruit, make sure they are the no-sugar added variety and then puree with the same amount of simple syrup.
- Strain the grapefruit mixture through a fine-meshed strainer into a bowl, cover and place in the refrigerator.
- For each Bellini, pour a 1/4 cup of the preferred fruit puree into a fluted glass. Slowly pour Prosecco into the flute until full, taking care it does not bubble over. Gently stir the drink, garnish with the matching fruit and serve.
- Purees can be made one day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.
- To allow guests to make their own Bellini, pour the purees into decorative jars with a spout and place the fruit garnishes next to each fruit puree. Have the Prosecco bottles on hand and glass flutes.