Cocktail-Making Class: Bourbon and Rye, America’s Native Spirits with Diana Pittet

Cocktail-Making Class: Bourbon and Rye, America’s Native Spirits with Diana Pittet


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Can't make this time? A video recording will be sent to all participants after the seminar.

Craving a refreshing Mint Julep, a classic Manhattan, or a flavorful Whiskey Sour? Discover the secret to creating bold bourbon beverages in this interactive class led by a cocktail expert. As we whip up these delectable drinks, we’ll discover the history of bourbon and rye in the United States, and learn how this distinctly American spirit skyrocketed to popularity.
Bourbon, a whiskey distilled primarily from corn, is considered by many to be America’s native spirit. This, however, was not always the case. Before bourbon and rye became beloved in the United States, the go-to hard liquors for many Americans were rum and brandy, preferably imported but also distilled domestically. In this seminar, we’ll explore how the United States went from being a nation of rum and brandy drinkers to whiskey tipplers, and discover how bourbon ultimately reigned supreme among American grain distillates. The story of these two whiskies is one of colonization and immigration, rebellion and independence, pestilence and prohibition, and rediscovery and rebirth—in a way, the story of the United States.
In this hands-on seminar, we will make three classic 19th-century whiskey cocktails, which are still enjoyed today, over 150 years later. We'll prepare a Mint Julep, one of America’s first iced alcoholic concoctions; the time-honored and refined Manhattan; and the enduring Whiskey Sour, which suffered a fall from grace at the hands of the soda gun and commercial sour mix in the last quarter of the 20th century, but now is once again being prepared properly and nobly with fresh citrus juice.
Led by cocktail expert Diana Pittet, this interactive seminar will explore the historical origins and American originality of bourbon and rye whiskies and cocktails. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased appreciation for the distinctiveness of American whiskies, and the proper techniques for making craft cocktails.

Full recipes will be provided via email, one day in advance of the discussion. We recommend having these ingredients on hand in advance:
 
Mint Julep
  • 1 Mint sprig
  • ¼ oz simple syrup* (or more to taste)
  • 2 oz Bourbon
  • Garnish: Mint bouquet
  • Glass: Julep cup or rocks glass
Manhattan
  • 2 oz Bourbon or Rye whiskey
  • 1 oz Sweet vermouth
  • 2 dashes Aromatic bitters (e.g., Angostura)
  • Garnish: Orange or Lemon twist & Maraschino cherry
  • Glass: Cocktail glass (e.g., coupe, martini glass)
Whiskey Sour
  • 2 oz Bourbon or Rye whiskey
  • ¾ oz Lemon juice (fresh)
  • ¾ oz Simple syrup* 
  • 1 egg white (optional)
  • Garnish: Orange slice and & Maraschino cherry
  • Glass: Rocks glass or Cocktail glass (e.g., coupe, martini glass)
Special Tools we suggest having on hand: 
  • Jigger (for measuring ingredients)
  • Cocktail shaker
  • Mixing glass
  • Bar spoon
  • Cocktail strainer
  • Vegetable peeler

A former Latin teacher, Diana traded in the classical world for classic cocktails after she earned a master's degree from NYU in Food Studies. She is the co-founder of Night Owl Hospitality, a cocktail catering company on the Jersey Shore, where she also runs a whiskey club. This autumn, Diana returns to NYU to teach a graduate class on the history, culture, and politics of drinking. An avid traveler, Diana aims to visit a total of 50 different countries by the time she is 50.

Not suitable for children under age 13 (sensitive content).

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 1 review
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B.L. (San Diego, US)
Great Mix of History and Cocktail Making

This was an entertaining and informative seminar that combined the history of American whiskey with the recipes and instructions for classic cocktails. This was a great complement to a similar Context course I took in 2020 on Scotch whisky.

Customer Reviews

Based on 1 review
100%
(1)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
B
B.L. (San Diego, US)
Great Mix of History and Cocktail Making

This was an entertaining and informative seminar that combined the history of American whiskey with the recipes and instructions for classic cocktails. This was a great complement to a similar Context course I took in 2020 on Scotch whisky.