The thirsty Indian is looking for a change, albeit very slowly, from whiskey and soda. You can spot this in the many cocktail bars that have sprung up over the last five years. The proliferation attests to the younger generation wanting to mix their cheers.
If there is one cocktail that tops the celebrity mood of the tipplers – it’s the Bellini – a colorful cocktail that’s so refreshing in its sweet fruity flavor and with a storied history that rules the orders across Indian bars.
The story of this cocktail starts in the early 1930s in Italy. It was a time of turmoil as Italy was swept up in a fascist frenzy with Mussolini, and the war was still a few years away. The classic Bellini is, in essence, so simple and minimalistic that its flavorful feast to the senses is amazing. With ingredients on hand, it’s a 30-second job with a combination of peach puree and Prosecco, an Italian sparkling wine.
The trick here is in the alchemy of proportion. The peaches have to be blanched for just under a minute and put in the ice-cold water bucket within the second. It has to be like a shot to the head, instant to stop the cooking process in its tracks.
Kshitij Goyal, of the Silvia Bar at the W hotel in Goa, one of India’s top 100, says that there is plenty of excitement and demand for Bellinis amongst clients. “We are seeing Bellinis flying off the bar counter. A lot of innovations are going on with the classic recipe as well. The trick is to have 90 ML of sparkling wine so that the texture of the drink pleases the palette, and peach does not overly dominate. Indians are also opting for sparkling rose wine-based options with berries like blueberry and raspberry, not just the classic peach.”
So Rossinis are the new Bellinis in Goa and elsewhere.
Some of the best Bellinis are served in Delhi. One can opt for the Shangri-La Hotel’s bar, the Sorrento, which offers a wide assortment of Italian-inspired cocktails, including their signature Bellini. The drink is made with freshly squeezed peach juice and chilled Prosecco, creating a perfectly balanced and refreshing cocktail.
In Bangalore, the High Ultra Lounge, located on the 31st floor of the World Trade Center, makes some of the best Italian cocktails and employs fresh fruit in its signature Bellinis.
The thirst for fresh fruit and even pulp has helped our mountains – as Uttarakhand and Himachal produce some of the best peaches in the world.
Bellinis typically go well with cold cuts like Prosciutto Crudo, which is Italian for ham. In fact, any kind of ham actually hums with the Bellini. I also like smoked, the drier cotto, which is a cooked ham and goes rather jolly with the Bellinis. Got something to celebrate this Sunday? Just go for the Bellinis, and even without celebration, you can beat the Indian heat with this drink! If your travel plan this summer includes Italy, well, in that case, Longhi bar is famed in Venice and located in the palace of a doge, is the worldwide Bellini HQ. Cheers.