I can't think of a better way to celebrate a momentous occasion than with bubbly. To be honest, I can't think of a better way to celebrate a non-momentous occasion than with bubbly. Are you with me? Whether it's a mimosa to welcome in the weekend or a fancy bottle of Veuve to ring in a new year, sparkling wine makes everything seem just a bit, well, brighter. So when my very best friend finally made her permanent arrival to Atlanta, I felt the need to pop a cork.
It seems like I've been chasing this girl around the country for the past five years, so when she finally settled on a grad school back down South, I couldn't have been more thrilled. You see, we've been trying to end up in the same city for quite some time; unfortunately the timing has never been quite right. After college I headed west to Los Angeles and she headed north to Virginia Beach. Later we made plans to re-align ourselves in Charleston to live it up as single gals, but then I went off and met a boy. So instead of beach bars and blind dates, I packed it all up to Georgia to be with the one I love.
But there's been something missing since I made the move back South, something a little sad. You know when all the pieces just don't quite fit, even though you've got more than you could ever ask for? I mean, I have a good man, a cozy house, and a doting family. Heck, I even have a superhuman bulldog! But at the end of the day, those great people can't replace your very best girl friend. The same best friend who patiently stood beside you through the awkward I-don't-brush-my-hair hippie phase. And then the streaky blond phase. And yes, even the cherry red from-a-box phase (that was an accident, I swear). Yep, even bulldogs can't fill those shoes.
But now she's back in my life and all is well in the world. In fact, she just popped on over last week for a much-needed unpacking break. So to celebrate her new residential status, I figured a festive cocktail was in order. Back in college we used to thrive on inventing new mimosa flavors, mixing André sparkling wine and whatever new flavor Tropicana just happened to release. (Can you say straw-cran-peach-mango-nana five times fast?) As you may or may not be able to tell, I've come a long way since then.
I just so happened to have a bottle of La Marca in the fridge (a girl should always have a fabulous bottle of Prosecco chilling, don't you think?), a pile of ripe peaches on the counter, and some fresh thyme sprigs just begging for a purpose. Fifteen minutes later I had a silky smooth peach-thyme puree and a couple of beautiful bellinis. Now that's something to toast about. So raise your glass to your best friend wherever she lives and make one of these in her honor today.
Peach Thyme Bellini
Serves 8 - 10
1/2 pound peaches, about 5, peeled and chopped (approximately 3 cups chopped)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
10 sprigs of fresh thyme, plus additional for garnish
Sliced peaches, for garnish
2 bottles of Prosecco or sparkling wine
In a heavy saucepan, heat the peaches, sugar, lemon juice, and thyme sprigs over medium heat until the mixture is thick and syrupy, approximately 8 – 10 minutes. Remove the peach mixture from heat and allow the mixture cool. Remove the thyme sprigs and discard. Purée the peach mixture in a blender until smooth.
Spoon three tablespoons of the peach purée into a champagne flute. Pour in prosecco or sparking wine and stir until combined. Serve cold.
The peach purée can be made up to 2 days in advance. This recipe can easily be halved, just adjust the amount of sugar according to your taste and the ripeness of the peaches.
Related: Summer Cocktails! The Full Roundup
(Images: Nealey Dozier)