The Skinny A literary tourist trap still delivers one of the better cocktails you’ll ever have. Here’s how to save some airfare and make it yourself. VENICE, Italy — Harry’s Bar is a Venice institution. Started in 1931 by Giuseppe Cipriani, it became instantly literary: Ernest Hemingway features the bar in his cleverly titled short story, “In Harry’s Bar in Venice,” and writers for decades have made Harry’s a part of their literary pilgrimages. It’s no longer a scruffy quay hangout, if it ever really was one. The waiters wear white tie, the original décor is preserved like a modernist museum, and a hamburger at lunch will set you back about $35. So starving artists are in no position to order food at one of the monuments to starving artists. This is Venice. The Bellini, however, at a “mere” $23, remains a treat worth savoring. And it’s refreshing enough to be worth the trouble of making for friends here in San Antonio. When Cipriani invented the drink, he named it for one of Venice’s most famous artists, Giovanni Bellini, whose triptych in the church of the Frari on San Polo was one of the first painted in the style later dubbed trompe l’oeil. By taking the name and making it a champagne cocktail, Cipriani must have counted on fooling the eye just as well. The well-made Bellini looks like freshly squeezed fruit juice with a touch of what appears to be pulp. It isn’t. It’s peach puree. Harry’s Bar might be a literary tourist trap these days, and chasing the ghost of Hemingway may not be a great idea for several reasons. But knowing how to make a real Bellini is worth the experiment. Make the drink for some friends and complain about how uncivilized the world is becoming. It might inspire something. RECIPE In a blender, puree 2/3-cup of peaches, and add a teaspoon of raspberries just before the texture gets too uniform. Add it to a pitcher with a bottle of Prosecco (Italian champagne, available widely), stir until color is consistent. Close eyes when drinking and dream of the sun setting on the Piazza San Marco. A Harry’s Bar secret: as you pour it, the Prosecco will bubble up; spoon away the foam instead of letting it settle. It allows the fruit to keep more of its flavor. Starving artist’s version: one part peach schnapps to three parts sparkling whatever. Close eyes when drinking and dream of winning the “Bad Hemingway” competition.
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