The Truth About How The Bellini Got Its Name

While there are many types of alcohols you can drink straight (that is, neat, i.e. without ice or mixers), cocktails — whether classic or modern — are often considered the fancier, more elegant side of imbibing. And anyone ordering a Bellini, one of Italy's most famous mixed drinks, is probably at least a little bit elegant. After all, since its inception, it's been consumed by "glamorous guests," according to Eataly.

Created from peaches, lemons, and chilled sparkling wine, the bubbly Bellini has a fresh taste thanks to its fruit-based ingredient list (via Its simple recipe also makes this well-known cocktail an elegant drink that anyone can mix. The Bellini has a uniquely tart flavor, a bright look, and a memorable name that might just pique the interest of the person seated next to you.

But what is the story behind this much-beloved cocktail's name? After all, the word "Bellini" seemingly has nothing to do with any of the ingredients that go into its making. While the origins of the drink's moniker won't be found in its recipe, the pinkish tint of the Bellini hints at the main reason for its name.

The Bellini was named after a Venetian painter

As notes, the Bellini was born in the heart of Venice, Italy at the famous Harry's Bar. The popular watering hole has had an inclination for the arts since opening in 1931 and quickly became known as a place for famous and accomplished people, like Ernest Hemingway and Frank Lloyd Wright, to gather (via the Cipriani website).

According to Eataly, the "first Bellini was poured in the summer of 1948," and in conceiving it, bartender and owner Giuseppe Cipriani was partially "inspired by the region's fragrant white peaches." The orange-pink, almost sunset-like color of the resulting drink reminded its creator of a color he'd seen in a 15th-century painting by Giovanni Bellini, and so the cocktail was named in the artist's honor.

The drink's reputation is just as illustrious as the notable man it was named after. In fact, the Bellini has reached such fame that it is one of the cocktails that bartenders who face off in the World Cocktail Competition, an event hosted by the International Bartenders Association, use to showcase their drink-making talents (per The Wall Street Journal). Among the expansive array of classic cocktails available to drinkers worldwide, the Bellini continues to reign as a beautiful cocktail meant to be sipped with the most fashionable company.