Chicago's Favorite Bartenders Teach Us A Lesson

At your next party, skip the mystery punch or case o' beer. Instead, enlist Chicago's favorite babes who bartend at Through the Liquor Glass to school you in the art of good cocktails. Regina Rauch and Keri Uffelman started mixing things up as a creative outlet, and soon learned they were sitting on big business. The pair specializes in creating custom cocktails for events of 15 to 100 guests, so feel free to contact them if your upcoming party plans are missing the key boozy ingredient. For now, TTLG is schooling us on must-haves for your bar at home, and one amazing drink every amateur should know how to pour.
Bar Essentials:
1. Boston shaker and strainer for mixing. $16.99 from the Martha Stewart Collection, available at Macy's.
2. Handheld juice press for squeezing fresh citrus. $11.95 (originally $20), available at Cutlery and More.
3. Jigger, a measuring tool. $2.49 (originally $3.95), available at Bottles-Up.
4. Muddler. $5.39, available at Amazon.
5. Seltzer and tonic. Prices vary, available at any local grocery store, like Jewel-Osco.
6. Lemons and limes.
Once you're stocked, Through the Liquor Glass recommends trying your hand at a little cocktail they like to call The Shanghai Royal. Get this one down, and shake things up at your next soirée.
1 oz pear-star anise syrup
Dry champagne
To make pear-star anise syrup: 1. In a pot, combine one cup sugar, one cup water, and two or three chopped pears (TTLG recommends Bartlett pears), and five whole star anise. (available at most fine grocery stores, like Whole Foods).
2. On the stove, bring the mixture to a simmer, let steep for a few minutes, then strain it.
3. Allow the strained mixture to cool.
4. Add one ounce of cooled syrup to a champagne glass.
5. Top champagne glass with dry champagne.
6. Garnish with a star anise.
7. Revel in compliments from guests!

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