So, the Bellini Party goes on with a wonderfully sensual mix of peaches, blueberries and vanilla. A truly imperial mix! The colour is a vibrant shade of purple – perfectly reflecting the summer mood (although it looks slightly somber in these pictures – of which more later).
As mentioned in my previous post (‘The Lovini’), Harry’s Bar, one of the most famous bars of the 20th century, is the birth place of the ‘Bellini’. This legendary haunt first opened its doors in 1931, when Giuseppe Cipriano transformed a rope warehouse into one of the most elegant bars in Venice, attracting a suitably legendary clientele: Ernest Hemingway, Truman Capote and Charlie Chaplin, to name but a few – tempting them with creations such as the Bellini and Carpaccio. The story has all the romance of a novel from the period. In the late 1920s, a young and rich American called Harry Pickering liked to hang out at the Bar of the Hotel Europa in Venice (now renamed The Westin), Giuseppe Cipriano was his favourite bartender. Harry’s family back in Boston got wind of his drinking bills and decided to cut off his allowance. Seeing his former client suddenly strapped for cash, the good-hearted Cipriani lent him 10’000 lira; Harry then vanished for two years, during which time one imagines that the bartender had given up on seeing his largesse repaid. Harry duly reappeared one day and repaid his debt of 10,000 Lira, adding a further 40’000 lira by way of a belated “thank you”, which Cipriano used to open “Harry’s Bar”,. This was the beginning of a Cipriani empire, with outlets in New York, London, Istanbul and Hong Kong, along with own-brand products such as: a Bellini mix (of course!), pasta, sauces, books and luggage.
When you’re next in Venice, make sure you drop into Harry’s Bar, it’s charms may have faded and its customers now tend to be bewildered tourists who’ve stepped off a cruise liner but you can still sense the sepia-tinted glories of its past.
The idea for this Bellini creation came – as is the case with most great inspiration – by chance. After having posted my Rhubarb Bellini recipe, I got a message from my wonderful friend Marie indirectly asking me to prepare that mix for our upcoming trip to Paris as we had 2 hours+ in the train to kill. Finding no rhubarb in the fridge and due to travel the following day, I resorted to an act of magical improv resulting in the cocktails that will appear in these next two posts – you are going to be amazed at how perfectly the fruit blends with Prosecco! 😉
The first creation I called the ‘Imperialini’ as its luxuriant imperial purple stems from its poached fruits. I photographed this drink with unpoached fruit which accounts for the rather darkish colour – I firmly recommend you to poach your fruit as the effect on both colour and texture are dramatic – you lose some nutrients, but hey.… Any leftovers can be enjoyed with yoghurt and granola the following morning!
serves 6 – 1 bottle of Prosecco brut
4 / 300g / 10.6oz flat peaches
1tbsp maple syrup (optional)
150g / 5.3oz blueberries
1 vanilla pod or 1tsp vanilla paste
skewers or toothpicks
- Cut the peaches into small pieces, discarding the stone. Add to a saucepan with the blueberries and maple syrup, if using, and poach on low heat until the blueberries start to burst and let their vibrant juice out.
- Blend the mixture until smooth. Put the purée through a sieve if you want it to be smooth – I normally skip this step as I prefer a more ‘rustic’ texture.
- Set aside to cool down.
- When cool, Serve:
Add 1-2tbsp of the purée (I use about 1.5tbsp) per glass and top off slowly with Prosecco. Be careful as it will foam a lot, you might prefer to make it in a few steps.
b. …or clean:
Add 1-2tbsp of the purée per glass and the respective amount of Prosecco into a jug (so you can do a few glasses at the time). Stir gently until well combined. Pour into the glasses.
5. As an option, decorate with a skewer of blueberries.
Tips / Variations
- Leftovers? Keep ‘The Lovini’ purée and serve it in the morning with yoghurt, granola and fresh fruits or add to your smoothie!
- Make it alcohol free! Exchange Prosecco with: seltzers, mineral water or lemonade.
Print recipe here: The Imperialini – Recipe