It’s funny that I’ve featured several beverages here recently, when normally I’m a very boring water drinker. I love the idea of cocktails, but usually I’m so busy with food I can’t fuss with drinks. My friend Lisa – who is never boring – inspired me when she came over with ingredients not just for dinner but for, as she put it, “adult libations.” And dinner preparation was transformed into a party with a glass of effervescent wine and a splash of mango-passionfruit juice.
I imported Lisa’s easy cocktail to Ohio, where I bought a jug of mango nectar and a bottle of Prosecco at Costco. Mango nectar can’t compare with the freshness of the original Bellini, made with a fresh white peach puree at Harry’s Bar in Venice, but it brings a fun tropical touch to the snowy Midwest.
In college I worked at our student bartending agency, which hired out students to work parties in private homes around town. We came to jobs all excited to put our extensive cocktail study to good use. But we never needed any of it. When we weren’t checking coats, or passing hors d’ouvres, or defrosting shrimp in a bathtub (true story), the job at the bar was limited to pouring wine or passing out beer. I always wondered why, even when people could see a full complement of cocktail supplies, no one ever ordered one. But now I know – after years of having kids and not going out, by the time they reach 40 adults can’t even remember the name of a cocktail to order. Or, if they can remember a name – Pink Lady? Salty Dog? Blue Hawaii? – they have no idea what is in it.
So on Christmas Eve, as I was pouring mango nectar with sparkling wine (or Pellegrino for the kids), occasionally someone would ask, “What is that called?” “Forget it,” I told them. “Let’s just enjoy.”
Don’t use a good Champagne for this – the taste will be lost in the juice. An inexpensive Prosecco or other sparkling wine will do. The classic Bellini proportion is 1/3 peach puree (in our case mango nectar) with 2/3 Prosecco. Make sure you chill both ingredients to start.
We don’t really need pictures for this one, so I’m going to finish off with a New Year’s greeting from Lisa’s girls. Even with four babies of my own, I have to say these girls are the cutest babies of all time.
Happy New Year, everyone!
A light, easy, lazy cocktail made with mango nectar and sparkling wine. Kids get their own sparkling version with Pellegrino instead of Prosecco.
- Prosecco (or other sparkling wine), chilled
- Mango nectar, chilled
- In a champagne flute, fill 1/3 with mango nectar and 2/3 with sparkling wine.
- Don’t use good Champagne for this, the flavor will be lost in the juice; just a simple sparkling wine will do nicely.
- For kids’ version, try 2/3 juice and 1/3 sparkling water.
- Thick mango juice is more in the spirit of the original Bellini, made with a fresh white peach puree, but cranberry or pomegranate juice are festive substitutions.
Here’s the link to a printable version.