If you want to be flipping bottles like Tom Cruise in the movie “Cocktails,” then one should know the tools of the trade - from shot glasses to cocktail shakers and the humble muddler. What is a muddler? A muddler is much like a wooden pestle – shaped like a baseball bat - that is used to combine and pound ingredients at the bottom of the mixing glass.
The muddler is an essential bar tool as this is used to bruise herbs such as mint for alcoholic drinks like mojitos and mint juleps. The muddling technique is used because it brings out the most flavor and releases the natural, wonderful oils and scents of herbs and fruits. Here’s how to use a muddler to make cocktails.
First, choose a muddler. Traditional muddlers are made from wood. There are muddlers that are coated with lacquer, do avoid buying these as it may be quite poisonous. While pounding the herbs, the lacquer may chip off into the drink. Aside from the wood version, you may also choose from plastic or stainless steel types. They work just as well. You can buy muddlers at any department store in the glassware section.
When muddling, you can either muddle the herb or fruit in the glass directly or you can muddle it first in another container and add the other ingredients before pouring it through a sieve. Some customers don’t like floating bits of leaves or seeds in their drink so it would be advised to sieve the drink first.
Tip. Do not attack the leaf or fruits with your muddler. Press and turn the muddler, rather than pound. If the cocktail recipe calls for both muddling a fruit and herb, muddle the herb first and then add the fruit.
Here are a few easy recipes you can use to make a muddler cocktail.
- Muddled rebuttal. This sweet and sour yet absolutely delicious cocktail is made with grey goose le citron vodka, freshly squeezed lemonade and raspberries. First, muddle five raspberries in a tall mojito glass. You may either add sugar syrup or a teaspoon of sugar. Place ice cubes and pour the vodka over the ice. Squeeze a bit of lemon and garnish a lemon wedge on the rim of the glass. Simply delish!
- Oh my mojito! To make the perfect mojito, simply muddle the mint at the bottom of your glass and sugar. Then add the rum, some lime juice and club soda. Tip. Sugar is a good ingredient to use in muddling as the granules help “masticate” the herbs. You will know that the mojito is just right when you get the full, clean green shine and you get a nice sweet aftertaste of mint.
- Strawberry-basil cooler. This is a beautiful drink for a warm summer’s afternoon. You will need a few strawberries, basil, vodka, lime juice, club soda and sugar syrup. In a cocktail shaker, muddle the strawberries and basil. Don’t forget to muddle the basil first. Then add on a few cubes of ice, syrup and lime juice. Sieve the mixture into another glass filed with ice and club soda.
Enjoy! Clink and drink!