Aperitivo Italiano: Bellini or Spritz?


Bellini cocktail
  • Type: Wine cocktail 
  • Served: Straight up without ice 
  • IBA specified ingredients: 10 cl (2 parts) Prosecco 5 cl (1 part) fresh peach purée 
  • Preparation: Pour peach purée into chilled glass, add sparkling wine. Stir gently. 
  • Notes: Traditionally a Bellini uses white peaches for the fruit. 
The Bellini was invented sometime between 1934 and 1948 by Giuseppe Cipriani, founder of Harry's Bar in Venice, Italy.
He named the drink the Bellini because its unique pink color reminded him of the toga of a saint in a painting by 15th-century Venetian artist Giovanni Bellini.

The drink started as a seasonal specialty at Harry's Bar, a favorite haunt of Ernest Hemingway, Sinclair Lewis and Orson Welles. Later, it also became popular at the bar's New York counterpart. After an entrepreneurial Frenchman set up a business to ship fresh white peach purée to both locations, it became a year-round favorite. 

The Bellini is an IBA Official Cocktail. They also suggest a Puccini, replacing the peach purée with an equal amount of mandarin juice, a Rossini, which uses strawberry purée, or a Tintoretto, which is made with pomegranate juice.

The Bellini consists of puréed white peaches and Prosecco DOCG, an Italian sparkling wine.

What is Prosecco DOCG? DOC means designation of controlled origin, while DOCG means designation of controlled origin and guaranteed. The latter is more stringent. The production area of DOCG is the Conegliano Valdobbiadene area, a hilly area in north-east Italy 50km from Venice, where the prosecco produced is considered "superior."

peaches in wine
Marinating fresh peaches in wine is an Italian tradition. The original recipe was made with a bit of raspberry or cherry juice to give the drink a pink glow. Due, in part, to the limited availability of both white peaches and Prosecco, several variations exist.
Other fruits or even flavoured liqueurs (peach schnapps, for example) are sometimes substituted for the peach purée.

The Cipriani family produces Bellini Base for the signature cocktail of the Harry's Bar restaurants.

Other sparkling wines are commonly used in place of Prosecco, though richly flavored French Champagne does not pair well with the light, fruity flavor of the Bellini.


  • 2 oz prosecco 
  • 1 ¼ oz Aperol splash of soda water 
  • built into a old fashioned glass over ice, garnish with orange wedge 
Aperol or Campari Spritz? Select?
One of the most known and loved cocktails from Italy. 

A classical one, an unmissable one for a proper Italian aperitivo: the Spritz.

Everybody in the world knows this beverage but a few people know the perfect and traditional recipe so it’s not uncommon to drink something called Spritz but which is, in reality, far from the real one.

The origins of the spritz are really unknown and finding the real ones, today, it’s not that easy though history says, for what it’s worth, that it’s all about the presence of the Austrian soldiers in the Veneto region; they just “stretched” the regional wine with sparkling water.
The inhabitants of Triveneto claim that the real spritz is prepared by mixing white wine and sparkling water because the purpose has always been, with a spritz, to prevent those who spend too much time at the bar getting drunk; Aperol/Campari, according to them, was added later but today the Aperol or Campari Spritz is definitely the most known and loved.

Campari is a world-famous bitter liqueur, perhaps the bitterest bitter around. Invented in Novara, Piedmont, in the 19th century, it originally got its characteristic deep red color from crushed cochineal insects. (If this makes you squeamish, no worries: Campari stopped using the insects in 2006.)

In summer, when you’re not using it for a Spritz, it is customary to cut it with soda and add a wedge of lemon or orange to make a refreshing Campari Soda. In cooler weather, you can enjoy Campari mixed with vermouth and soda to make an Americano; substituting the soda with a shot of gin, you’ll have what may be the most iconic Italian cocktail of all, the Negroni.
Aperol contains only 11% alcohol. Made of bitter orange, gentian, rhubarb, and cinchona, among other ingredients, Aperol is rather less bitter than Campari (20% alcohol), with hints of sweetness in fact. It sports a lighter color, more rust than red.

Other Spritzes 

There’s also a recipe around for the “Campari Spritzer,” which is something very different: Campari, orange juice and soda water tha in Rome we call "giallorosso" or "bicicletta".

And besides Aperol and Campari, Cynar, a liqueur made, believe it or not, from artichokes—also lends itself to this treatment.
Limoncello Spritz is popular in Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast.


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