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:
To learn more cocktail techniques, recipes and secrets, check out DIY Cocktails.
Photo by Jackson Stakeman