When & How to Muddle
You’re probably familiar with a few classic muddled cocktails, like juleps, mojitos, or smashes. While many people are drawn to these seemingly complex concoctions on a cocktail menu, it’s easy to be intimidated by the technique. But fear not! Learning how to muddle is easy and a great way to integrate a whole new level of flavor to your home bartending.
Muddling is simply the process of lightly mashing ingredients like herbs, fruits and spices to integrate the flavor into your drink. The process releases juices and oils that add complexity and depth—those layered flavors that separates your mixology masterpieces from your everyday mixed drinks.
Before you start mashing, you’re going to need a muddler. While there are many types of muddlers to choose from, don’t be intimidated. Whatever you pick will work. Some have teeth, which are great for heartier ingredients like pineapples and oranges. Others are flat on the bottom, which works great for herbs and other more delicate ingredients. Materials vary as well. Wooden muddlers. Metal muddlers. Plastic muddlers. They’ll all get you where you need to go. Choose one that speaks to you! Just make sure it’s food safe.
How to Muddle
This is the fun part. Put your ingredients in a sturdy glass—something that won’t break when you apply pressure. Hold the glass with one hand and press the muddler against the ingredients while twisting your wrist. Make sure to apply pressure appropriate to the ingredients you’re muddling. For example, you’ll want to be more gentle with herbs versus pineapple. After that, finish the cocktail and sip or serve with pride.