James Bond Got it Wrong. Martinis Should be Stirred, Not Shaken and Other Fun Info I Learned During a Context Conversation.

Cocktail expert Diana Pittet leading a Context Conversation via a Zoom call.

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Join a Context Conversation to travel the world from the comfort of home. I recently tuned into a cocktail seminar, and it was a fascinating hour full of compelling history and beverage-making tips.

Why is James Bond Wrong About his Martinis?

When do you shake a cocktail and when do you stir? Well, don’t take advice from James Bond because vodka martinis should be stirred, not shaken. Why? Drinks with egg, dairy, and fruit juices are shaken to incorporate the ingredients into the alcohol. At least, that’s what I learned during an online seminar about cocktails in a Context Conversation with Context Travel.

On a Friday evening, I tuned into an hour-long Zoom call to watch and listen to cocktail expert Diana Pittet. She demonstrated how to craft four of Wimbledon’s iconic English drinks, like a Pimm’s Cup and a Breakfast Martini with marmalade. A couple dozen other curious travelers were on the call with me.

Cocktail expert Diana Pittet pours a cocktail during a Context Seminar with Context Travel.
Cocktail expert Diana Pittet pours a cocktail during a Context Seminar with Context Travel.

Context Conversations are Worth Every Minute

Listen, sitting on a video call after work didn’t seem appealing. Especially after doing it daily for more than two years during the pandemic. However, I’m a huge fan of Context’s in-person tours and know anything they do will be excellent.

And you know what? I was right! Learning about the history of cocktails and how to make specific drinks was extremely intriguing, making it time well spent.

Ms. Pittet provided history and commentary during this Context Learning seminar. This included the history of cocktails including the Golden Age of Cocktails (early 19th century through early 20th century) to today’s resurgence in classic beverages.

In case you’re wondering, cocktails were birthed in the early 19th century United States with roots in 18th century English punches. Popular in British punch houses, punches consisted of water, citrus juice, sugar, spices, and alcohol, which was typically rum. Original cocktails consist of liquor with sugar, water and bitters.

Prior to the seminar, attendees and I received the recipes with an ingredients list including recommended glassware. Instructions were posted in the chat during the conversation.

The number of attendees was intentionally limited. This made it easier to interact with Ms. Pittet and ask questions, either in the chat or via video. Context Travel traditionally keeps in-person tours limited in size. This creates more opportunities for interaction with the instructor which results in a better learning experience. I’m glad they’re keeping online seminars limited in size, too.

Walking the Brooklyn Bridge with Context Travel, New York.
Walking the Brooklyn Bridge with Context Travel, New York.

Join a Context Conversation Fitting Your Interests

This particular seminar won’t be offered anytime soon. However, Diana Pittet is leading other cocktail-centric Context Conversations like “Holiday Cocktail-Making Class: Four Festive Drinks” on Dec. 16, 2022.

One of Context’s many strengths is that many conversations or seminars take deep dives into topics rather than high-level overviews. Seminars by other scholars include “’Bridgerton’”: Dining and Elegant Entertaining in Regency England” with Francine “Critical Race Theory: Context, Controversy, and Call to Action” with Dr. Richard Bell, and Chernobyl: Fiction and Reality with Vadim Malinovsky. There are so many fine seminars to choose. Check out the Context library to find one to suit you.

Context touts itself as offering “tours for travelers who love to learn,” and this is spot on.

Does James Bond Get a Pass?

Back to James Bond. A friend, and James Bond fan, confirmed that yes, vodka martinis should be stirred. However, 007 is a busy man with a constant target on his back, he explained. The international man of mystery doesn’t have the luxury of sitting in a bar waiting for his drink to be made because he may need to dodge danger and possible death. Learning this, I think Mr. Bond earns a pass in drinking his martinis the unconventional way.

Cape diem!

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Solo Travel Girl

Jennifer A. Huber is the voice behind Solo Travel Girl. She's an award-winning travel and outdoor blogger and writer in Southwest Florida. Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., a hiking trail led her to a career path in the tourism industry for more than 30 years. She spent a decade with a park management company in Yellowstone, Death Valley, and Everglades National Parks. She founded the travel blog, SoloTravelGirl.com with the goal of inspiring others to travel alone, not lonely. Jennifer holds a Travel Marketing Professional certification from the Southeast Tourism Society, is a certified food judge, member of the NASA Social community, and alum of the FBI Citizens Academy. When not traveling, she is either in the kitchen, practicing her photography skills, or road tripping with her dog, Radcliff.

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