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Babbo:The Bellini variations, this one blood orange.

Food
Best House Drink
Babbo
110 Waverly Place
212-777-0303

Sixty-odd years ago at Harry's Bar in Venice, Giuseppe Cipriani mixed white-peach juice with Prosecco, and a sparkling star was born. Light, refreshing, and fizzy, the Bellini is the perfect aperitif, and Babbo continues the tradition, substituting seasonal fruit purées for the traditional peach. There's no cocktail pyrotechnics -- just the graceful Venetian elegance of pouring the drink from a glass pitcher propped enticingly in a bowl of ice on the bar. Some flavors -- particularly the tangy blood-orange and the mellow green-apple -- are more successful than others. "We experimented with Meyer lemon," says beverage director David Lynch, "and we tried quince. It didn't work." But we toast the inventive spirit and persistent tinkering; that's what makes it the perfect potable prelude to Mario Batali's inspired Italian cuisine.

Photograph by Kenneth Chen.
 
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