When we moved back to Chicago from DC in 2005, one of the biggest draws of this town was that it was where many of our friends were living. Kevin had grown up here, we’d both gone to college here, and it wasn’t so far from Minneapolis, where I’d grown up. Unlike Washington, where everything was new and where we were wrapped up in anonymity much of the time, this was a place where you could run into someone you knew at a Cubs game, where you could go to a place that you’d been five (or, in Kevin’s case, ten or fifteen) years ago.
There were a lot of great things about being back in Chicago—but returning to a tight group of college friends was certainly one of the best. There were BBQs and nights of unending Taboo and weddings and chili cook-offs and fantasy football drafts and Fourth of July fireworks and book clubs and girls dinners and street festivals and concerts.
We’d all settled in—and I loved it.
Just when we’d hit our stride, a lot of change hit our group all at once—new jobs, back-to-school, new homes, a new decade (our 30s). And then, almost all at once, three couples moved away: one to Denver, one to Manhattan, one to Minneapolis.
Back in Chicago, there was change too. Last fall, Jon and Emily announced that they were expecting a baby!
That happy news—a definite exclamation point in a year full of punctuation—brought us all back to Chicago last weekend, the first time we’d all been back here in a long time. We spent nearly the entire weekend together, from dinner on Friday night through brunch on Sunday. In the middle of it all, we threw a shower for Emily. A party just like the old days—but to celebrate something very new.
(More shower photos here.)
Peach & Strawberry Bellinis
Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis, via Brynn and executed by Andy & Cari
These cocktails were a hit with both drinking and non-drinking guests at the shower. Plus, they matched our color scheme.
1 1/3 cups water
2/3 cups sugar
1 16-ounce bag frozen peaches, thawed
1 16-ounce bag frozen strawberries, thawed
4 bottles sparkling wine (or sparkling water)
Stir the sugar and water in a large saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Cool completely.
Puree the peaches in a blender with half of the sugar syrup until smooth. Strain through a fine-meshed strainer and into a bowl. Cover and refrigerate.
In a clean blender puree the strawberries with remaining simple syrup until smooth. Strain through a clean fine-meshed strainer and into another bowl. Discard the seeds. Cover and refrigerate.
Pour both of the purees into small pitchers.
For each serving, pour 2 to 4 tablespoons of the desired fruit puree into a champagne flute. Slowly pour enough sparkling wine (or sparkling water) into the flute to fill the glass. Gently stir to blend.
Do-Ahead: The fruit purees can be made 1 day ahead. Cover separately and refrigerate.