Cocktail-Making Class: Three Historic American Drinks with Diana Pittet - Context Travel

Cocktail-Making Class: Three Historic American Drinks with Diana Pittet


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Join a local cocktail expert and try your hand at shaking and stirring three classic cocktails while learning about the birth, death, and rebirth of the cocktail in America.

The cocktail is a distinctly American culinary creation that has been lauded as “the greatest of all the contributions of the American way of life to the salvation of mankind” (H. L. Menken, 1945). One can argue whether or not the cocktail has indeed saved mankind, but it is certain that it has been appreciated around the world since the nineteenth century. The heyday of the cocktail, as enjoyed in the country of its birth, came to a crashing end, however, when Prohibition nearly killed off the high art of the cocktail. Only now, almost ninety years since the repeal of Prohibition, has the craft cocktail been resuscitated by pioneering mixologists, resulting in the current global cocktail renaissance.

To contextualize this current renaissance, the seminar will uncover the historical and social factors that led to the birth, death, and rebirth of the cocktail in America. For each of these three phases, a historic drink will be highlighted, and participants will have the chance to try their hand at making it while learning when a cocktail should be stirred and when it should be shaken (hint: don’t pay attention to James Bond).

Led by cocktail expert Diana Pittet, this interactive seminar will explore the cocktail’s 200+-year history in the United States. 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 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
  • bar spoon
  • cocktail strainer

For the Old Fashioned:

  • Bourbon or rye whiskey
  • Simple syrup or sugar
  • Bitters (e.g., Angostura)
  • Orange twist

For the Gin Ricky:

  • Gin (or whiskey for the original Rickey)
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Soda water
  • Simple syrup (optional)
  • Lime wedge

For the Last Word:

  • Gin
  • Green Chartreuse
  • Maraschino liqueur
  • Fresh lime juice

Participants will receive formal 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.

This conversation is not suitable for children under age 16

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 4 reviews
100%
(4)
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P
P.S.
A little fun history of alcohol in the United States while enjoying some cocktails

Diana is that lovely combination of an instructor who is well informed as well as affable and clearly interested in making sure the seminar participants enjoy the experience. Fun and Informative Experience - Highly Recommend.

J
J.
Great class!

We really enjoyed the class with Diana. The history of cocktails was very interesting, and we learned two new drinks! (Bonus: This is the first time I've ever liked an Old Fashioned.) We can't wait until we can join her for an in-person tour!

A
A.
You

Very interesting and enjoyable. The history was very good. It’s a very broad topic, but Diana organized it remarkably.

K
K.
Simple, Educational but NOT boring

I was pleasantly surprised how the class was so pleasant and letting us know more about the history of C(c)ocktails, dark times and now the decade of wonderful sipping. Even though I am not a big Rye person, I will certainly try again. Thanks.

Customer Reviews

Based on 4 reviews
100%
(4)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
P
P.S.
A little fun history of alcohol in the United States while enjoying some cocktails

Diana is that lovely combination of an instructor who is well informed as well as affable and clearly interested in making sure the seminar participants enjoy the experience. Fun and Informative Experience - Highly Recommend.

J
J.
Great class!

We really enjoyed the class with Diana. The history of cocktails was very interesting, and we learned two new drinks! (Bonus: This is the first time I've ever liked an Old Fashioned.) We can't wait until we can join her for an in-person tour!

A
A.
You

Very interesting and enjoyable. The history was very good. It’s a very broad topic, but Diana organized it remarkably.

K
K.
Simple, Educational but NOT boring

I was pleasantly surprised how the class was so pleasant and letting us know more about the history of C(c)ocktails, dark times and now the decade of wonderful sipping. Even though I am not a big Rye person, I will certainly try again. Thanks.