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Prosecco Cocktails That Really Pop

on 21/09/13 at 10:27 am

Booze News

indexIn the golden era of Harry’s Bar, the Venetian hangout of Ernest Hemingway, Alfred Hitchcock and Orson Welles, the drink of choice was a Bellini. Pretty to the eye and to the palate, this famous pink cocktail is merely a mix of two parts Prosecco to one part peach purée. It remains a crowd pleaser, festive and frivolous and, if made at the height of white peach season, worthy of its popularity. Now, some 70 years after Giuseppe Cipriani, the owner of Harry’s Bar, invented the Bellini, New York bartenders are giving Prosecco a second look for its crisp, dry finish and gentle effervescence. Instead of pairing it with fruit, they are returning to the traditional requirements of an aperitivo and creating drinks that spur the appetite with fresh, pleasantly bitter and herbal flavors.

Francine Stephens of Franny’s Brooklyn pizzeria serves what she aptly calls a Sweet Olive. With the anise and saffron notes of Meletti amaro, the sharpness of Aperol, the salty brine of Castelvetrano olives and the citrus sweetness of an orange wedge, this cocktail has a thoroughly contemporary edge and complexity. It’s low enough in alcohol to drink with a panini at lunch or while snacking on crostini before dinner.

Michael Anthony of Gramercy Tavern also plays bitter against sweet, in the Orange Blossom, a mix of orange bitters and Prosecco with a lovely floral bloom of elderflower liqueur. This elegant drink isn’t meant to accompany food, but rather to tantalize the palate, paving the way for dinner.

Not so the Golden Haymaker, which can be served as easily as white wine, and in fact contains an ingenious syrup of Sauvignon Blanc infused with herbs and grapefruit zest. This seemingly innocent creation by Tiffany Short of the Library at the Public harbors a potent shot of vodka and is therefore not for the spritzer set.