Bellini's Legacy

My cocktail blog has suffered of late (mostly due to my indecision regarding the forthcoming "Rite of Spring" cocktail), but there's nothing like the romance of Valentine's Day to rekindle one's inspiration. Today, I present not one, not two, but THREE cocktail recipes, all inspired by the simple and magnificent "Bellini." 

A Bellini cocktail is the perfect combination of white peach puree and Prosecco. Most classical music aficionados instantly assume the cocktail is associated with Vincenzo Bellini, an Italian composer known for his impossibly gorgeous (and endless) melodic lines. (The drink, sadly, has nothing to do with the composer—it's inspired, rather, by a 15th century artist—but I still like to think that the two are indelibly linked.) As such, and after MUCH taste-testing, I propose three new cocktails inspired by early-nineteenth century bel canto opera:


In theory it's a stretch, but in taste, it's perfect:

  • 1 part pineapple purée (or juice, if you're in a hurry)
  • 2 to 3 parts Prosecco (or sparkling wine)

Pour the pineapple purée into a chilled champagne flute, then gently (GEN-T-LY!) add the sparkling wine. If the "gentle" addition of sparkling wine results in a lava flow of froth, try adding the sparkling wine with a baster, inserted below the surface of purée. Drink flamboyantly while careening about your living room to the "Mad Scene" from Lucia di Lammermoor.

The Elixir of Love

Um. Yes. Since an "elixir" (especially the love variety) ought to be complicated to produce, this drink adds a fussy, but delicious step to the "Donizetti" recipe listed above:

  • 2-4 sage leaves
  • 1.5 ounces pineapple purée/juice
  • 4 ounces Prosecco/sparkling wine

Lightly muddle the sage leaves with the pineapple purée/juice. (Vigorous muddling can make a bitter mess of sage leaves, so try to stay calm. Experimentation is key.) Remove the bruised leaves. Pour the infused pineapple mixture into a chilled champagne flute, then gently (GEN-T-LY!) add the sparkling wine. Share with a lover while listening/crying to "Una furtiva lagrime" from Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore.



I know, I know, for years (centuries, actually) the bubbly music of Rossini has been compared to champagne, but I'm going to go out on a limb with the following:

  • 3/4 ounce limoncello
  • 1.5 ounces vodka
  • 4.5 ounces Pompelmo(a grapefruit-flavored variety of San Pellegrino)

Mix together in a collins glass with plenty of ice.

With the inclusion of limoncello (from Sorrento) and San Pellegrino (from northeast of Milan), the drink is undeniably Italian and "bubbly." BUT, there's something to this drink that's even perkier, more joyous, and less pretentious than even champagne. Opera's rom-com master, Rossini, now has a new drink to celebrate his glittering carouses of the stage. :-)