When it comes to gift-giving for Christmas, one of my favorite family traditions is getting each other stocking stuffers. These range from silly to practical. This year, my mother was pleasantly surprised (and a little embarrassed), when she opened the two small paper bags in her stocking and discovered mini bottles of Prosecco. She had never dreamed that her little girl would get her alcohol for Christmas – nor that she’d like it! So, we toasted that night with a bottle she already had and made strawberry bellinis with the mini ones a few days later.
Although personally I prefer Prosecco by itself, the gift inspired conversations about different ways to enjoy the beverage. The Italian sparkling wine is commonly used in cocktails and can often replace champagne in mimosas and other mixed drinks. I have a friend who adds St. Germain to hers, and just that simple addition of floral and sweet makes the drink feel special. Prosecco is a staple for bellinis.
This weekend, in anticipation of New Year’s morning, my mom and I experimented with a few variations of strawberry bellinis – one sweetened, one unsweetened. My mom loves freezing fruit when it’s in season to use throughout the year in her smoothies, and right now her freezer is full of blueberries and strawberries, so we used strawberries. Mixing it with strawberries is a pretty classic take and I think a good start for anyone not super familiar with Prosecco. The sweetened version of this recipe (using simple syrup) is more palatable for bellini fans.
We took inspiration for ingredient ratios from the the peach-rosemary bellini recipe found in The Perfect Peach: Recipes and Stories from the Masumoto Family Farm. FYI, this drink is so good. Nikiko Masumoto created this recipe by making a rosemary simple syrup, creating a peach pulp, and then adding a tablespoon of each to 1/2 cup Prosecco. My mom, completely unfamiliar with bellinis before trying this, fell in love immediately. So, with frozen strawberries in had, she got out her new split of Prosecco and said, “Happy New Year to us! Let’s try this out!”
The mini bottle was the perfect amount for two people. Below is the recipe for one person. Note: If you want a smoother finish to the drink, strain the strawberries first. We opted not to, and didn’t even mush the strawberries a lot, mostly because we got impatient. Though for a party, I’d recommend making the extra effort.
Strawberry Bellini for One
1 T. simple syrup
2 frozen strawberries, pureed (thawing in microwave 15 sec practically does this). Strain for a smoother consistency.
1/2 c. Prosecco, chilled (or pour to your liking)
Directions: Mash the thawed strawberries in a small bowl (or a mortar and pestle). Add simple syrup, stir. Then add Prosecco to a chilled champagne flute.
For a party of 8, you can puree 2 cups of strawberries, 1 1/2 cups simple syrup, and use one full bottle of Prosecco. You could use sparkling water for a non-alcoholic version, as well.
This drink will be a perfect start to 2015! I’ve always wanted to have a New Year’s Day party with a mimosa bar and lots of add-ins, so if you do this, let me know and I will gladly live vicariously through you, haha. If you’re setting up a home bar for New Year’s Eve, here are some classic cocktail recipes and tips for stocking your bar.
Need a party to attend? Head out to Catacomb Party Presents NYE ’69 at Fulton 55 (get tickets here).
Wishing you the best for 2015!