(Before we move on, I have to explain that the blueberry puree did not curdle. It’s just the bubbles from the sparkling wine. I swear.)
When I was in my twenties, I had some odd notions of which activities seemed wise. At least, that is my excuse for hurling myself off the side of a 350-foot bridge with nothing but a large conglomeration of elastic bands strapped to my ankles. When friends told me that the bungee jump over the Zambezi River by Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe was, at that time, the highest one in the world, I simply could not resist. As the bungee experts cinched the straps around my ankles and fitted the harness for the post-jump ascent, a strange sense of calm came over me. Perhaps we should call that a haze of stupidity. Whatever it was, it allowed me climb out onto the edge of the bridge without peeing my pants.
At the call of “3…2…1…BUNGEE”, I threw myself off of the bridge, arms outstretched in what was (in my mind) the most graceful swan dive performed outside of the Olympic Games. The air left my lungs and the fall seemed to go on forever as I fell towards the river below. Terrifying? Yes. But what I remember most was the sense of pure exhilaration. As cliche as it may sound, I truly felt as though I could fly. That is a feeling everyone should experience at least one time in their lives.
When I returned to Vancouver after our Zimbabwean adventure, I distinctly remember sitting around the table at a local chain restaurant called Milestone’s with several friends. As I told my bungee story, we sipped on margaritas, Long Island iced teas, and bellinis. Being college students with the newly-legal right to drink, we jumped at the chance to order the restaurant’s signature fishbowl cocktails. The drinks came served in honest-to-God glass fishbowls, with long red straws sticking out at odd angles. Between four of us, we could suck one of those babies down in 10 minutes flat, which proves my point that twenty-somethings are not always as wise as they may fancy themselves.
This blueberry bellini is a rip-off of the classic peach bellini first served in Harry’s Bar in Venice. In this version, blueberries are pureed with a simple syrup and made smooth by a run through a fine-mesh strainer. The blueberry puree is spooned in to champagne flutes and gently mixed with Prosecco, or another sparkling wine. I could have used one of these after my jump.
To make the simple syrup, combine 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup granulated sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil and stir until the sugar dissolves. Let the mixture cool.
Place a fine-mesh strainer over a medium bowl and pour the blueberry mixture into the strainer. Using a rubber spatula, gently press the blueberry mixture through the strainer. Discard the seeds left in the strainer.
Spoon 2 to 3 tablespoons of the blueberry puree into each of 6 champagne flutes. Add 4 to 5 fresh, whole blueberries to each glass. Fill the glasses with chilled Prosecco (or another sparkling wine). Gently stir and serve.
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 16 oz. fresh blueberries (can also use frozen blueberries that are defrosted)
- 1 (750 ml) bottle Prosecco, champagne, or other sparkling wine
- To make the simple syrup, combine water and sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil and stir until the sugar dissolves. Let the mixture cool.
- Pour ⅓ cup of the simple syrup into the bowl of a blender. Add blueberries and puree until smooth.
- Place a fine-mesh strainer over a medium bowl and pour the blueberry mixture into the strainer. Using a rubber spatula, gently press the blueberry mixture through the strainer. Discard the seeds left in the strainer.
- Spoon 2 to 3 tablespoons of the blueberry puree into each of 6 champagne flutes. Add 4 to 5 fresh, whole blueberries to each glass. Fill the glasses with chilled Prosecco (or another sparkling wine). Gently stir and serve.