A peach Bellini is the classic Venetian cocktail, and my mate Arrigo serves loads of them in his world-famous establishment, Harry’s Bar. Arrigo’s grandad, Giuseppe Cipriani, opened Harry’s in 1931, and because he was a bit of a genius he ended up inventing not only this beautiful cocktail but also another thing I absolutely love — carpaccio. The story goes that when Giuseppe first made this cocktail the sun was setting and the colours in the drink were the same as the colours in his favourite Bellini painting…you can work out the rest! You can also get nice results using tinned peaches if you can't find beautifully ripe flat peaches.
I think this is best made just before serving, in front of your friends. Halve your peaches, remove their stones, then pop them into a liquidizer and blitz until smooth. Add a splash of water if needed and put the purée into a jug. If you don't have a liquidizer just use your hands to squeeze, mash and really push the peaches through a sieve so you get as much as possible of their wonderful flavour and the colour from their skins into the purée. You can get the purée as fine as you like, but I don't mind the thickness…it's quite rustic. Discard (or eat!) whatever is left behind in the sieve, then pour your Prosecco into the jug and gently mix together. Divide between six glasses right away, and top up with a little more Prosecco if need be, and enjoy!
PS The spirit of the Bellini isn't exclusive to peaches — nectarines or berries are also lovely used in the same way. There could easily be a Bellini for every month of the year.