Bellini cocktail

Harrys barThe Bellini is a cocktail belonging to the category of long drinks, made with sparkling white wine (usually prosecco) and the pureed pulp and juice of "verona" white peach. It is an official cocktail of the I.B.A. (International Bartenders Association).

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

The name was in honour of Harry Pickering, a Bostonian who was a frequent guest at Hotel Europa in Venice, where Giuseppe Cipriani worked as a bartender. When Cipriani noticed that Pickering was not coming to the hotel bar any more, he asked him why, and Pickering explained that his family had found out about his drinking habits and cut him off financially. At this, Giuseppe Cipriani lent him 10,000 lire of the time (about $5,000 US). Two years later, Pickering returned to the hotel bar, ordered a drink, repaid his debt with 50,000 lire, asking Cipriani to open his own bar and call it "Harry's Bar."

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.

Bellini cocktail


  • 10 cl (2 parts) Prosecco wine.
  • 5 cl (1 part) fresh peach purée.


The original recipe uses the pulp and juice of fresh, white Verona peaches (which have the IGP recognition) - Pesca Duracina bianca tardiva (= late-maturing white duracina peach) or Biancona di Verona [Persivca Iulodermis, or Duracina peach]; the peach should be crushed, not with a mixer, slowly stirred with the prosecco, and served in flute glasses.

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.

Since the two basic ingredients are quite difficult to find in some areas, many alternatives have been devised. The Prosecco is often replaced by champagne, though the champagne taste may be too strong for delicate white peaches, and the cocktail takes the name of "Bellini Royal".

Non-alcohol variations employ fizzy juice or soda. Other derived cocktails replace peaches with strawberry ("Rossini"), with fresh orange squash ("Mimosa") or pomegranate ("Tintoretto").