Why an Apple Cider Bellini is the Best Fall Brunch Drink

© Molly Hippolitus

By Justine Sterling Posted October 29, 2015

The bellini is the perfect brunch cocktail.

Light, fruity and fizzy, a bellini delivers the optimal amount of booze and refreshment for mid-morning drinking. But unfortunately, it's not always peach season. That’s why this winter, one Washington, DC bartender will make his bellinis with hard apple cider and seasonal fruit purees in place of the traditional Prosecco and peach.

Sebastian Zutant, the beverage director and co-owner of the soon-to-open All Purpose, wanted to create a rotating bellini menu for the new restaurant. While experimenting with different purees, he found that many of them just didn’t mix well with Prosecco. “Prosecco is delightful,” he says. “And we’re going to keep the peach puree bellini on the menu—it’s a time-honored classic. But when it comes to different fruit flavors, you need to use different sparklings.” His solution was to try using local ciders.

“Cider has a wider range of flavors than Prosecco,” Zutant says. Right now he’s still experimenting with the menu but has found that black raspberry puree with Millstone’s Rhubarb Cider works particularly well. He’s also mixing Foggy Ridge’s fruit-forward cider with an apple puree and Vermont’s Eden Cider with a pear puree.

To make your own cider bellinis at home, Zutant recommends opting for a local cider and mixing up your own seasonal fruit puree with one guideline in mind: “It’s never good to go sweet on sweet,” he says. “If you’re using a really sweet cider, try to find a more subtle fruit.” Mix one ounce of the puree with three ounces of cider, stir in a glass, then pour it into a flute using a spoon to hold back the foam. Then, spoon the foam on top of the cocktail and serve.

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