How to Muddle

Many cocktails recipes instruct you to “muddle” ingredients. But what does that even mean?

A muddler is a wooden pestle that looks like a miniature baseball bat. The flat end is used to smash ingredients, such as the lime and mint in a Mojito. Wood is best, because it won’t damage glassware. Many muddlers have teeth on the end, which is great for fruits but a little on the aggressive side for those oh-so-delicate herbs. You can even go DIY and make your own muddler; it’s just a wooden dowel when it comes down to it.

Muddling releases the oils from herbs and the juice from fruits and vegetables. If you’re muddling herbs–say you’re making a Mint Julep-put the herbs at the bottom of a glass and press down gently with your muddler and twist rather than pound.

Over-muddling herbs releases the bitterness from the stems, and you want the flavored oil from the leaves. However, if you’re muddling fruit or a sugar cube, go to town on that bad boy and smash away.

So whip out that muddler and try one of these cocktails:

Watermelon Mojito
La Estrella
Mint Julep
Pink Frost
Embarcadero Dandy
Summer Solstice Smash

To learn more cocktail techniques, recipes and secrets, check out DIY Cocktails.

Photo by Jackson Stakeman

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