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

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.

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.

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