Ages ago, I said I would participate in Drink Week, Marisa’s gathering of adventurous DIYers who don’t balk at a tipple or two with their preservy creations. I had grand plans: a local white wine sangria, with seasonal, local fruit; an herby-infused vodka, to go into a sophisticated, cucumber-and-something cocktail; or maybe something with foraged wild wineberries and local Tuthilltown whiskey. Alas, life happened, as it so often does: work appeared, in hunched-over-the-computer-’til-10 pm amounts; friends visited, birthdays popped up, and I somehow gathered 87 lbs of green beans in the fridge that need pickling.
Then I realized that my post was due this weekend and I am climbing all day Saturday (another, long-delayed birthday present for a friend), so I had better get crackin’. I had in mind a simple bellini: fresh peaches are in season after all, and prosecco is easy to come by; it would be a snap! Of course, getting out of the house in order to procure said fresh peaches, not to mention local white peaches in the middle of the week, was another matter entirely, especially when the data just keep rolling in. I never did get out of the house to get peaches (I haven’t enjoyed a single peach yet this summer!) but I do have plenty of cherries in the freezer, so how could I resist making a chellini? I couldn’t.
I originally tried just puréeing thawed cherries and adding to prosecco, similar to a peach bellini. Cherries, however, are not as soft as peaches (although sour cherries might make a better go of it); they do not blend up as smoothly, so you are left with a rather unappetizing, grainy texture when you add straight cherry purée to prosecco. I tweaked and tinkered (and should really have eaten a bigger lunch before spending the early evening testing cocktail recipes) and ended up with something I like very much: chilled cherry purée, lightly strained, a bit of lime juice, a touch of sugar and a healthy pour of prosecco. Add a few frozen cherries to keep it icy cold and retire to the deck with a bowl of nibbles and a leafy green view. Hello weekend: I thought you’d never get here.
For the full round up of Drink Week posts, surf on over to Food in Jars. There are already some great ideas, like Julia’s jamgria, Meg’s watermelon cocktail and Sean’s Plasma Mary. I’m sure there are more great drinks to come, so stay tuned!
- 2 cups cherries, stemmed and pitted, fresh or frozen
- juice of 1 medium lime
- 1 tbsp raw sugar, or simple syrup
- prosecco or other sparkling wine
- If cherries are frozen (or fresh cherries are very firm), heat for 1 minute in the microwave until thawed and releasing juice. Transfer to the bowl of a food processor or blender and purée for about 1 – 2 minutes, until as smooth as possible.
- Transfer cherry purée to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Add lime juice and sugar: shake vigorously. Strain pulp into a pint glass.
- Add 2 tbsp cherry pulp to a champagne flute, then fill with prosecco (about 3 oz prosecco). Plop a frozen cherry or two in the glass as garnish. Head out to the deck, sip, and enjoy.
Makes 4 chellinis.
- Sour cherries may not need straining, although they might need an extra touch of sugar or simple syrup.
- Since you strain this cocktail, the basic technique will work for other fruits, even seedy ones like raspberries, blackberries or strawberries.
For easy-access chellinis in a flash, make and strain the cherry purée, then freeze for an impromptu chellini party.
Summer or any festive occasion.