Cipriani chose the name for its cocktail from the pink color of a saint's tunic in a Renaissance painting by Giovanni Bellini. The drink became a seasonal specialty of "Harry's Bar" in Venice, one of the favorite places for Ernest Hemingway, Sinclair Lewis and Orson Welles. The cocktail became very popular also at another Harry's Bar in New York, after a French entrepreneur established a trade route for transporting white peach pulp between the two locations.
The cocktail was invented in 1948 by Giuseppe Cipriani, head bartender at "Harry's Bar" (Calle Vallaresso 1323, Venice), which he had been in 1931 and since 2001 has been considered an Italian national landmark.
History of the Bellini
- 10 cl (2 parts) Prosecco wine.
- 5 cl (1 part) fresh peach purée.
The other ingredient is a "prosecco", an Italian white sparkling wine, generally dry or extra dry, made from Glera grapes, though other grape varieties such as Bianchetta Trevigiana may be included. The name derives from the Italian village of Prosecco, near Trieste. "DOC" Prosecco is produced in the regions of Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia, traditionally in the hills around Conegliano and Valdobbiadene, north of Treviso.
Non-alcohol variations employ fizzy juice or soda. Other derived cocktails replace peaches with strawberry ("Rossini"), with fresh orange squash ("Mimosa") or pomegranate ("Tintoretto").