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Italian coolers ... they're sparkling fruit fizzes.

Italian coolers . . . they're sparkling fruit fizzes

Vibrant in hue and flavor, these summerafternoon coolers are blend-as-you-go drinks based on fresh fruit and a sparkling beverage. The original inspiration comes from the Italians, who have a delicious habit of adding their muscat sparkling wines--or Asti Spumante--to fruit purees for delectable adult-style sodas.

You can share these drinks with all ages,replacing the wine with sparkling water or a light fruit-flavored soda to thin the purees to a sipping consistency.

Because bubbles diffuse quickly, beveragesshould be mixed just before drinking. You can organize the purees, however, up to 3 hours before serving. Choose several fruits to puree with orange juice--the juice makes the purees purable and adds its own sweet touch. For peaches and apricots, which brown quickly when exposed to air, you add lemon juice to help preserve their bright color.

Present the purees in a collection of pitcherson a tray and let guests choose and sample from the whole lot.

Some thoughts on sparkling wines

Sparkling wines made from muscat grapevarieties are on the sweet side; the best have the essence of freshly pressed grape juice and are refreshing rather than cloying. These wines are very popular in Italy, and many are imported here; they are often modestly priced. But these muscat wines are not just the domain of the Italian winemaker: at least one moderately priced one is made in California. Ask your wine merchant to recommend a brand with a fresh fruit flavor.

Italian Sparkling Fruit Fizz

2 cups prepared fruit (choices follow)

6 tablespoons orange juice

Sugar, optional

1 bottle (750 ml.) chilled sparklingmuscat wine, or 1 bottle (32 oz.) chilled sparkling water or carbonated lemon-lime beverage

Ice, optional

In a blender or food processor, whirl fruitand orange juice until very smoothly pureed. Add sugar to taste. (When making raspberry puree, pour puree into a fine strainer set over a bowl. Rub pulp to extract as much liquid as possible; discard the seeds.)

Pour the puree into a 3- to 4-cup servingpitcher. If made ahead, cover and chill up to 3 hours. Stir before serving.

To make each serving (you can let guestsserve themselves), fill a stemmed glass about 1/3 full with the fruit puree. Slowly, to avoid foaming over the rim, fill glass with sparkling wine or beverage. If the day is warm, keep the sparkling beverages on ice and have a few cubes to slip into glasses when purees begin to warm. Each batch of prepared fruit makes about 2 1/4 cups puree, enough for 10 to 12 servings in 8- to 10-ounce glasses.

Prepared fruit. For the richest, sweetestflavor, select fully ripened fruit.

Apricot. Rinse, halve, and pit 1 poundripe apricots; mix with 2 tablespoons lemon juice.

Kiwi fruit. Peel 3 kiwi fruit (about 1 and cut into chunks.

Melon. Peel and seed 1 small (about 2 lb.)cantaloupe or honeydew melon; cut enough into chunks to make 2 cups. Reserve remaining fruit to eat or use for other dishes.

Peach. Peel, halve, and pit about 4medium-size (about 1 1/2 lb.) ripe peaches; mix with 2 tablespoons lemon juice.

Pineapple. Cut peel and top off 1 small(about 3 lb.) pineapple; trim out any eyes that remain. Cut pineapple in half lengthwise; cut out and discard core. Cut enough pineapple into small chunks to make 2 1/2 cups; reserve remaining fruit to eat or use in other dishes.

Raspberry. Gently rinse 2 cups raspberries;drain on paper towel.

Strawberry. Remove stems from about2 1/2 cups strawberries; rinse and drain on paper towels.

Photo: Brilliant red raspberry puree effervescesfrom infusion of lemon-lime soda. It's a cool refreshment for a summer afternoon

Photo: Offer colorful assortment of fruit pureesto blend by the glass with sparkling wine, water, or beverage for fizzy delights

Photo: Select juicy ripe fruit, such asthese succulent peaches, for the most flavorful purees
COPYRIGHT 1987 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1987 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:includes recipes
Date:Aug 1, 1987
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