courtesy of ‘quinn.anya’
It’s time for another item from the DC Omnivore 100 list of the top one hundred foods every good omnivore should try at least once in their lives.
As a huge fan of champagne based drinks, I was super pumped to take on the Bellini for this week’s DC Omni 100. Invented by Giuseppe Cipriani in Venice Italy, the Bellini is a refined take on the brunch staple Mimosa (orange juice and champagne) whose main difference is swapping out the OJ for peach puree/juice. This sweet, but slightly acidic cocktail can be both a fantastic addition to brunch (and can help ease Friday night’s hangover) or can be a great night/dinner starter.
Originally the Bellini was a seasonal beverage of puréed white peaches and Prosecco, an Italian sparkling wine similar to France’s Champagne or Spain’s Cava. According to Cipriani sources, the original version could also include bits of raspberry or cherry in replacement of the seasonal peaches giving the drink a pink glow and making it a year round favorite.
When ordering a Bellini at a restaurant, it’s important to ask your server about the ingredients available behind the bar. If they have both Prosecco and peach puree, amazing! Order away. However, it can be a little difficult to find both ingredients at your local DC neighborhood bar. If you’re looking to enjoy a quality Bellini with the proper ingredients, then I suggest you try the bars at Urbana in Dupont, or Sonoma on Capitol Hill or Two Amy’s near the Washington Cathedral. At all these locations, they serve a fantastic Bellini made from top notch peaches and a high quality sparkling wine.
courtesy of ‘christaki’
If you want to create a real Bellini’s on your own then I, personally, recommend using Looza’s Peach Nectar usually available in your grocery juice or international food section. Goya also has a peach juice that will do the trick.
Next stop should be your local wine shop to see what kind of sparkling wines they offer. If they don’t have Prosecco, look for a dry, sweetish sparkling white wine; Asti Spumante would be a good second option.
If you have time and peaches are in season (their peak is in July and August) then marinate some white peaches in the sparkling white wine and puree them to make your own juice.
To prepare, pour 1 part peach puree into a champagne flute and add 2 parts sparkling wine. For a non-alcoholic version or an option for the kiddies, substitute sparkling cider or soda water in place of the wine.
One of my biggest travel regrets is that I’ve been to Venice twice and still haven’t been to Harry’s Bar to have a bellini. Such a cool history and a Hemingway haunt. Next time!!
Venice has a lot of interesting native cocktails like the bellini, the spritz, and the sgroppino… it would be nice to see them served in DC more often.
I’d really urge you not to sub out the prosecco, though! It’s pretty easy these days to get it – just look for Cartizze, Valdobbiadene or Conigliano on the bottle, brut or extra dry.
The first Bellini I ever had was at Harry’s Bar in Venice. While nothing will compare to that, I have had a few decent Bellinis since; but only in FL (where I come from). Since moving to DC I have searched and searched for a decent Bellini. None of the normal brunch hot spots seemed to carry the “real” version, often substituting peach puree for peach schnapps (gross!).
Thank you for posting this! I have already made my Sunday brunch reservation at Urbana.
I can’t wait to have a real Bellini again!