HELLini Cocktail Is Fang-tastic
by Diana Cachey
In Venice, Italy, Giuseppe Cipriani invented the now famous Bellini cocktail, a delicious mix of sparkling wine and peach juice. The fizzy drink started as a seasonal specialty at Harry’s Bar, a historic landmark and favorite Venetian hot spot teaming with tourists and made infamous by celebrities likeErnest Hemingway, Humphrey Bogart, Alfred Hitchcock, Truman Capote, Orson Welles, Aristotle Onassis, Barbara Hutton, Peggy Guggenheim,Woody Allen (the list goes on!)
According to Venetian legend, Cipriani was a bartender at Hotel Europa and a rich American name Harry Pickering frequented the bar. Pickering’s drinking exploits led his family to cut him off financially so Cipriani loaned him 10,000 lire (about $5,000 US). When Pickering returned to the bar two years later, he ordered a drink, repaid the loan and said, “To show my appreciation, here’s 40,000 more, enough to open a bar. We will call it Harry’s Bar.” The bar’s signature drink has a unique pink color that reminded Cipriani of a saint’s toga in a painting by Venetian Giovanni Bellini, so he named the drink after the artist.
The Bellini’s popularity soon took off -- first at Harry’s in Venice then at its New York counterpart and it went viral when a French entrepreneur shipped fresh peach pureé to both locations, making it a year-round hit. Today the Bellini is an IBA Official Cocktail, a well-known drink served by many professional bartenders. People often declare the Bellini the national drink of La Serrenissima, the Venetian republic.
Marinating fresh peaches in wine is an Italian tradition so the drink was made from puréed white peaches and an Italian sparkling wine, Prosecco. The original recipe added raspberry or cherry juice to give the drink a pink glow. Other fruits can be substituted for peaches and, for a non-alcoholic version, use sparkling juice or Pelligrino in place of champagne.
Our Fang-tastic HELLini variation is made more devilish because it is spiked with peach schnappes and a dash of brandy on top, which is lit and served flaming. It is sparked further with grenadine to effect an amber glow. A proper HELLini should brandish a black licorice gum drop, sliced lengthwise and placed on the side of the glass, where a peach-slice would go on the mere mortal Bellini.
HELLinis should preferably be served in the most expensive hand-blown Murano glass champagne flute that money can buy (that’s very freaky expensive) in the shape of a devil, such as the one pictured here. Each HELLini can be chased by shots of Zambucca in a hand blown snifter, making one feverish enough for a vampire bite.
If you drink more than one and survive the night, you may go to “you-know-where.” Be careful of the things you may see after drinking them.
Bellini Ingredients: Sparkling wine or water, peach juice.
FANGtastic HELLini version: add peach schnapps, dash of brandy. Light on fire. Sip from hand-blown Murano champagne flute.
What Happens In Venice
Number of pages: 160
Word Count: 40,000
Tagline: Among the romantic canals of Venice—and oh so many Italian distractions—can a stunning American lawyer and her psychic sister help the Ghosts of Venice solve a hushed-up crime?
Louisa Mangotti is a gorgeous American lawyer and Interpol expert who, after being offered a job working with the international crime unit in Venice, receives a mysterious postcard from the Venetian Ghosts, the ancient protectors of the Republic. But Louisa assumes her bad-boy ex, Matteo, sent it in a quixotic attempt to gain her attention. Louisa may have dismissed the ghosts, but the ghosts aren’t quite done with her.
When the bodies of two glassmakers wash up on Murano Island, the cryptic messages persist. Reluctantly, Louisa calls upon Matteo to help decipher the clues. And before she knows it, a flame that was never fully extinguished is rekindled. Sensing that her sister is in over her head, Barbara Mangotti rushes to the rescue, only to be lured away by two handsome Venetian men.
With time running out, can the two beauties solve a crime that could threaten the city of Venice itself?
About the Author:
Diana Cachey is a licensed attorney, published academic, and former adjunct law professor. She also holds a BA in English, and while in law school, she was the first female editor in chief of her university’s law review. The author of the novel Love Spirits, she has trained with several New York Times best-selling writers, including Robert Allen, with more than seventy-two million books sold. For more than a decade, Cachey has been traveling to Venice, the setting of her novel, on extended trips several times a year. The cafés, restaurants, and many other haunts of Venice play a prominent role in her sexy paranormal mystery-romance about a beautiful American lawyer guided by the Ghosts of Venice in the investigation of a hushed-up crime.
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