There's a tree branch sticking out of the wall at Birraporetti's in the River Oaks Shopping Center [1907 West Gray, (713)529-9191]. It's decorated with Christmas tree lights, the all-white kind. Another wall is painted dark red, and yet another is stone. This place struts its tastefulness. Of course, if you were looking for a really tasteful Italian restaurant, you would walk across the street to La Griglia [2002 West Gray, (713)526-4700]. But if you want to watch the Astros game while you eat, Birraporetti's is your place. The food is nothing to write home to Milan about, but there are four TVs behind the bar, so you can watch baseball and basketball at the same time. During a lull in a recent game -- the 'Stros were losing to the White Sox 6-0, so there were plenty -- bartender Pricilla Brazell made me her favorite house frozen drink, the Sicilian Swirl.
Birraporetti's Sicilian Swirl
Invented in Italy, the bellini is a simple champagne cocktail much like a mimosa, except that delicate white peach juice stands in for the usual orange juice. Birraporetti's has a ludicrous recipe for bellinis that includes three kinds of booze and three kinds of wine. It may work fine in the soft-serve machine, but it's nothing you would ever want to try at home. But Birraporetti's Sicilian Swirl is worth a whirl. You put a shot of Chianti in the glass before you add the slush to make a very cool two-tone cocktail. I've adapted this recipe to fit your home blender.
2 cups crushed ice
1 shot vodka
1 shot rum
1 shot peach schnapps
1 shot Grenadine
1/2 cup peach nectar
3 shots champagne
1 shot Chianti (or other red wine)
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Combine all the ingredients except the Chianti in a blender and process until slushy. Pour the Chianti into a clear cocktail glass and pour the slush over it. Makes one large drink.