As the sun dips into Venice's shimmering lagoon, bar tenders elegantly attired in white jackets and black bow ties, pour Bellini's and carry trays of Spritz across the room to customers.
Venice's most famous cocktail, perhaps the most famous champagne cocktail in the world, is the Bellini. The sophisticated mix of white peach juice and Prosecco was invented by Giuseppe Cipriani then owner of the famous Harry's Bar, Venice, in the 1930s.
Popular in the summer months when white peaches are in their prime, the Bellini now graces cocktail menus the world over.
The Spritz, or as the Italian's insist it be pronounced Sprizz, is the most commonly seen sundowner across Venice. Often served in a high ball, or a large wine glass, Prosecco, Aperol (or Campari) and soda water are poured over ice. A slice of orange is thrown in for good measure, and a toothpick with a green olive, or two, is sometimes added. Served with a straw.
Bellini (Makes two cocktails)
- 2 ripe white peaches, peeled, halved and stones removed
- Chilled Prosecco
Place the peaches in a blender and purée until totally smooth - this can be done in advance and the purée kept in an airtight container in the fridge. Place 1-2 tablespoons (depending on the size of your champagne glasses) of purée into the glasses and slowly top up with Prosecco, stirring the peach purée as you pour. An ideal Bellini should be 1/3 peach purée and 2/3 Prosecco.
Spritz (Makes one cocktail)
- 85ml Prosecco
- 40ml Aperol or Campari
- 40ml soda water
- Orange slice, to garnish
- 2 green olives on a toothpick
Combine Prosecco, Aperol (or Campari), and soda water in a tall glass filled with ice, garnish with a slice of orange, and a couple of olives, if you feel so inclined.