In my eyes, peach season can’t last long enough! They’re a favorite of mine, mostly because they remind me of warm summer days. I’ve figured out how to bring back that taste all year round, even in the middle of winter, with the Peach Apricot Bellini.
The bellini was created in the mid-1900s by Giuseppe Cipriani. He was the founder of Harry’s Bar in Venice, Italy, and he created the cocktail during the local four-month-long peach season. He mixed ripe white peach purée with prosecco to create the light pink drink, using one part purée to two parts prosecco. The beautiful hue reminded him of a color he’d seen in a painting by Giovanni Bellini, and the Bellini cocktail was born.
I love white peaches, but it’s rare to find them ripe and ready to eat in Chicago. Georgia friends, I envy you! However, I stumbled across some ripe yellow peaches and some gorgeous apricots in early September, so I gave the bellini a late summer twist.
The process is pretty simple: purée the fruit with a little lemon juice and brown sugar, strain, and then you’re ready to serve. You definitely don’t want bits of peach peel floating in your drink, so straining it through a fine mesh sieve is key.
I’ve found that pressing down with a spatula will encourage the purée to make its way through the sieve to the bowl underneath. The result is a silky fruit purée that’s ready for some cocktail making!
I’m a little heavier handed than Giuseppe Cipriani with the prosecco here. He used one part purée to two parts prosecco. I use one tablespoon of purée per champagne flute or coupe, and then fill the rest with prosecco. If you like a sweeter or fruitier cocktail, then add more purée.
I took the idea of a year-round bellini from the recipe’s creator himself. Giuseppe had the same problem—how would he serve the crowds of people hankering for a bellini when peach season was over? He learned to freeze the puréed fruit so he could delight fans year-round, and I’m taking a page out of his book.
You can freeze the leftover purée in ice cube trays. Once they’re frozen, pop them out and place in a resealable, freezer-safe bag. They’ll keep for several months, or at least until you can get your hands on peaches again.
If you’re looking to change it up, how about a plum bellini? Or a nectarine apricot bellini? Any stone fruit would work well here, including the white peaches used in the original beverage.
I would normally serve the bellini in a champagne glass, but when my friend Kelley suggested a coupe, it made the bellini even more gorgeous. A coupe was originally used for champagne, but fell out of favor when the champagne flute was shown to release fewer bubbles and keep the drink fizzy for a longer period of time. The coupe is making a comeback thanks to the craft cocktail movement, and it makes such a pretty presentation for this.
The Peach Apricot Bellini was part of a Southern-themed brunch that I threw with Kelley of Haviland Events. She supplied the adorable table settings and I supplied the food, and we most definitely had more than one of these festive cocktails as we noshed on our brunch. The full spread included Bacon Cheddar Spoon Bread, Banana Bread French Toast Casserole, and Praline Candied Bacon, topped off with these bellinis.
Peach Apricot Bellini
Yield 6–8 servings
- 1 ripe peach
- 1 ripe apricot
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 bottle prosecco or sparkling wine, chilled
- Remove the pits from the peach and apricot and chop roughly. Place the fruit in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the lemon juice and brown sugar. Process until the fruit is puréed.
- Place a fine mesh strainer over a bowl. Pour the purée through the strainer, pressing the solids with the back of a spatula to release more juice. Discard solids.
- Place 1 tablespoon of the fruit purée into a champagne glass. Fill the rest of the glass with the prosecco or sparkling wine. Serve immediately.
Tip: freeze leftover purée in ice cube trays. Once frozen, place the cubes in a resealable freezer-safe plastic bag. Defrost in the refrigerator when ready to use.