JIM SHIRLEY • CHEF/CO-OWNER OF THE FISH HOUSE • JULY 1, 2009
Italy's Champagne alternative, Prosecco is a sparkling wine made from the grape of the same name that's fermented in stainless steel, which makes for a clean taste. Since the wine is so light and effervescent, and not as fussy as champagne, at casual gatherings I like to pour it freely into large wine glasses.
And then there's the Bellini cocktail. When a day on the beach under July's blazing sun draws you close to your favorite barkeep, you'll know she loves you if she offers up a super thirst-quenching Bellini. As a refreshing mixture of peach purée and sparkling wine first made during the 1930s or 40s at the oft-mentioned Harry's Bar in Venice, Italy, the Bellini has become an international favorite. I make mine with a purée of Chilton County peaches and Prosecco.
Bartenders at Seaside have taken the Bellini one step further by combining our effervescent Italian friend with entirely new choices of fruit. Blood oranges, for example — muddled in a large glass with a drop of bitters, packed with ice, and then filled with Prosecco. Another delightful way to stay cool this summer is to mash local blueberries and a sprig of mint in a glass, add ice, and cover with Prosecco. Do the same with native blackberries. You can also make a low-alcohol mojito with it —muddle fresh lime and mint with some simple syrup, then add ice and Prosecco. Perfect beside your pool. Or just make up a jug, ice it down in your cooler, and enjoy it at the beach.
I have been appreciating the hints of pear and melon in Prosecco from Adami. Another of my favorites is made by La Marca, which has baked apple, sour lemon and grapefruit notes. You can test these yourself even if it's your first rodeo. Both these selections are from the Veneto region of Italy and are available locally.
The Fish House, 600 S. Barracks St., Pensacola. 470-0003, or visit www.goodgrits.com.