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Summer means one thing to me: Bellini’s. Well, really two things: Bellini’s and Rosé. So shoot me. The Bellini is a cocktail mixture of sparkling wine (Prosecco, normally) and peach puree. It was created by a bartender in the late 1930’s/early 1940’s at the renowned Harry’s Bar in Venice, Italy, named in honor of Venetian artist Giovanni Bellini.

Bellini’s are a chic addition to the celebratory breakfast, lunch or brunch (and heck, even for dinner if that floats your boat). They add, quite literally, sparkle and color to your event. Never yet have I served Bellini’s and not been accosted with compliments and praise (not unusual for one of my soirées, but nice to hear none the less). Plus, Bellini’s are fab alternative to the banal Screwdriver. Say it with me, “I’d love a Bellini – thanks!” or “Um…screwdriver?” Which do you prefer to hear at 10am on Sunday? Or noon, rather. Not to mention that peaches are a healthy natural source of vitamins and Prosescco has been known to take the edge off as well. If only we could start every Monday morning with a Bellini.

Superiority will inform you that a true Bellini is made with white peach puree (and a splash of cherry juice or liquor for that blush of color). Normally I would advise you to follow the ritual perfected 75 years ago in Italy. But then Trader Joes helped me to simplify the matter. And to be honest, simplicity is sometimes superior.

Trader Joes has jarred (not canned – somehow being able to actually see the product makes it okay) peaches in a syrup. They aren’t loaded with sugar either. Depending how much you need, you blend the whole jar (save a few pieces cut for garnish in the bottom of your glass) slowly adding simple syrup to taste (sweeter the better in my opinion). You will get the most lush, smooth peach puree you ever dreamed of (100 times better than anything with frozen fruit). It’s a little piece of heaven. How much simpler does this get? Pour the bubbly and you are ready to go. I mean, not literally. Please stay home and drink responsibly. When you are through, if you have any leftover puree (doubtful), you can store it neatly in the jar the peaches came in. We call this recycling and it’s brilliant.

A few tips: It’s always “a Bellini” never “a peach Bellini” and never, ever “a strawberry Bellini”. Don’t be an ass.

Bon Mots: “Well of course after drinking Bellini’s all morning in Harry’s Bar…honey was that Venice 06 or 07?…we had to get the cookbook.”

 

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