Cocktail-Making Class: Gin and the Gin Craze of 18th-Century London with Diana Pittet

Cocktail-Making Class: Gin and the Gin Craze of 18th-Century London with Diana Pittet


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As is the case with most spirits and liqueurs, gin, a distillate flavored with juniper berries, was first consumed for medicinal purposes and then for pleasure. Nowhere was this shift in usage more apparent than during the Gin Craze of 18th-century London, considered by historians to be the first modern drug epidemic. Alarmed by the perceived social upheaval that gin was causing on the streets of London, Parliament passed five Gin Acts to limit its consumption, a move supported by the artist Wiliam Hogarth, who issued the propaganda prints, “Gin Lane” and “Beer Street,” in 1751, to persuade Londoners to forgo gin and its Dutch origins, in favor of domestic ale.

Of course, Lady Geneva did not disappear, and it is in fact currently enjoying re-found popularity--a gin-aissance, if you will. In this class we will become reacquainted with gin, and place its consumption in a historical context by making three classic cocktails--one shaken, one stirred, and one built: a gin punch from Victorian England, popular with Charles Dickens; the most classic and American of gin cocktails, the Martini, whose heyday was just before Prohibition; and a contemporary Spanish gin-tonic.

Led by cocktail expert Diana Pittet, this interactive seminar will explore the complex history of gin. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased appreciation of the social and historical impacts on our drinking habits and attitudes, and with knowledge of the proper techniques for making craft cocktails.

Participants are welcome to join in the cocktail making! You'll want these ingredients and tools on hand:

  • Jigger (for measuring ingredients)
  • Cocktail shaker
  • Mixing glass
  • Bar spoon
  • Cocktail strainer
  • Vegetable peeler

For the Gin Punch (Hot):

  • Gin
  • Madeira (or substitute sherry, Marsala, or Port)
  • Boiling water
  • Dark brown sugar
  • Honey
  • Lemon (half)
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Cinnamon stick
  • Whole clove
  • Nutmeg

For the Martini:

  • Gin
  • Dry vermouth
  • Orange of Angostura bitters
  • Lemon twist or Olive

For the Gin-Tonic:

  • Gin
  • Tonic water (good quality, e.g., Fever-Tree or Q)
  • Rosemary sprig
  • Lemon wheel
  • Juniper berries (optional)
For the Bee's Knees (Bonus cocktail)
  • Gin
  • Honey
  • Lemon juice (fresh)
  • Ice
  • Garnish: Lemon twist

Participants will receive complete recipes prior to the class.

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 7 reviews
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(7)
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J
J.
A Perfect Mix

This was my first class with Diana Pittet, but it won't be my last. I thought she created the perfect mix of history, trivia, and real-time drink mixing. I chose to just watch the presentation, but I reviewed the video replay and have now made all the cocktails and even experimented a bit. Diana gave me the confidence to play with proportions and garnishes, but also covered some of the basics of mixology. I especially appreciated the tips concerning appropriate tools and techniques. Cheers.

O
O.M.
Home cocktail making!

Diana is so jolly, fun and down to earth. She is very knowledgeable, practical and creative. She combined theory with practise in a very easy to follow seminar. I learned a lot about my favourite drink. Cheers to Diana!

L
L.R.
Fabulous Presentation - Great history!

I have been on many gin tours and tastings, but Diana gave the BEST history background about gin! Soooo impressed and engaged. Just a delight.

L
L.K.
Excellent presentation

Diana is fun and informative. I learned a lot about gin specifically and cocktail-making in general. Thank you for a delightful and delicious time.

A
A.G.
Review

Wonderful fun knowledgeable presentation!

Customer Reviews

Based on 7 reviews
100%
(7)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
J
J.
A Perfect Mix

This was my first class with Diana Pittet, but it won't be my last. I thought she created the perfect mix of history, trivia, and real-time drink mixing. I chose to just watch the presentation, but I reviewed the video replay and have now made all the cocktails and even experimented a bit. Diana gave me the confidence to play with proportions and garnishes, but also covered some of the basics of mixology. I especially appreciated the tips concerning appropriate tools and techniques. Cheers.

O
O.M.
Home cocktail making!

Diana is so jolly, fun and down to earth. She is very knowledgeable, practical and creative. She combined theory with practise in a very easy to follow seminar. I learned a lot about my favourite drink. Cheers to Diana!

L
L.R.
Fabulous Presentation - Great history!

I have been on many gin tours and tastings, but Diana gave the BEST history background about gin! Soooo impressed and engaged. Just a delight.

L
L.K.
Excellent presentation

Diana is fun and informative. I learned a lot about gin specifically and cocktail-making in general. Thank you for a delightful and delicious time.

A
A.G.
Review

Wonderful fun knowledgeable presentation!