Bellinis and mimosas are both sweet, festive drinks that combine fruity flavor with the bubbles of Champagne or sparkling wine. If you're hosting a brunch or a festive luncheon, serve one or both of the classic drinks to your guests. Since the two drinks are essentially variations on a theme, you can even set up a drink station with all of the ingredients so guests may concoct a glass of their preferred libation.
The classic Bellini, reputedly invented at Harry's Bar in Venice, Italy, in 1948, calls for fresh white peaches, which are pureed, strained and spooned into the bottom of a chilled glass. The mimosa looks to citrus for its flavor, traditionally using orange juice for its fruit component.
A traditional Bellini uses prosecco, a dry or extra-dry Italian sparkling wine. On the other hand, the mimosa has a French pedigree, calling for Champagne, and in many recipes, a splash of Grand Marnier cognac to accentuate the cocktail's orange flavor. Nonetheless, you can make a variation on either drink using any sparkling wine. Given the amount of fruit each drink contains, you're less likely to distinguish the nuances among different forms of bubbly. As for the ratio of alcohol to fruit, the Bellini typically calls for 3 to 4 parts prosecco to 1 part peach puree. The mimosa is usually 3 parts Champagne and 1 part Grand Marnier to 1 part orange juice.
Traditionally, the Bellini may use fresh fruit and the mimosa, juice; however, neither recipe is set in stone. You could just as well make a modern twist on the Bellini using peach nectar as you could create a mimosa using fresh orange juice with extra pulp. Chef Giada de Laurentiis proposes a fanciful take on the Bellini that combines frozen peaches, strawberries, blackberries and grated orange peel, plus some sugar. Rachel Ray dresses up her Bellini with mint leaves. For a subtler touch, Nigel Slater, writing for "The Guardian," recommends a drop of orange blossom water. The mimosa recipe generally undergoes less variation. For an English twist, add grenadine instead of Grand Marnier and call it a Buck's Fizz.
Stemware and Temperature
Since both Bellinis and mimosas use sparkling wines as a primary ingredient, it's typical to serve them in fluted glasses. However, a tumbler with a thin lip is also appropriate for the Bellini. Chilling the glasses beforehand helps keep the temperature down. Of course, if you go traditional and use frozen peaches in your Bellini, chilling the glass will be less important. In any case, always chill your sparkling wine before serving either drink.
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