How to Muddle Drinks- Technique and Ingredients
A muddler is a piece of barware used to mash, or muddle, herbs, fruits and spices in a cocktail. Muddling releases oils and juices trapped within the leaves or rinds, adding complex flavors and aromatic overtones. If you're going to take a chance on muddled drinks, it's important to learn the basics of how to muddle.
A wooden muddler works fine, but for heartier rinds of limes, lemons and oranges, a metal or plastic model with a claw tip might work better. They will also last longer and are more dishwasher-friendly.
The point of muddling drinks is to add flavor and aroma, not bits of tiny particles, so practice using a “light hand.” Too much pressure can break apart the herb or pith, releasing bitter elements like chlorophyll into the drink
Muddling various popular cocktail ingredients
First we’ll muddle an herb—in this case, mint. You can’t make a proper Mojito or Julep without it. For a mojito, add eight to ten whole leaves to the bottom of a Highball glass. Then, add your measures of simple syrup and lime juice.
Now we’re ready to muddle a drink. Holding the glass securely with one hand, take the muddler in the other and gently press the leaves against the bottom of the glass, while twisting your wrist. Ten seconds is all that’s needed. Remember, over-muddling will destroy the herb and create a bitter, cloudy drink. Once you’ve finished, add ice, stir and serve.
This technique can be used for thinner-skinned fruit, like blueberries, strawberries and grapes—and leads to some of the most delicious muddled drinks around.
Again, your fruit goes in the bottom of the glass and add a bit of simple syrup. Since the skin of fruit is heartier than an herb you’ll want to add a bit more muscle to your pressing, but again, don’t massacre. The ice comes next, then the rest of the ingredients.
For hearty additions like orange or lemon rind, a heartier muddler may be in order. This one’s made of metal and has a claw tip for really working those thick rinds. The technique is basically the same, with a bit more muscle. First, add your fruit and a bit of syrup. Now muddle with the claw tip down, for about ten twists. Let the tool tip do the work for you. That’s all it takes.
Next, add the ice and the rest of the ingredients. Snap on a bar tin. Shake it hard for 10 seconds. Now pour it into a glass through a Hawthorne strainer. For best results, a second straining through a fine mesh strainer will remove the tiny bits of pulp and rind. Garnish with a slice of orange and it’s done. A perfectly balanced, perfectly muddled cocktail.
The best way to learn how to muddle is to practice. You can find more recipes to try out your muddling skills by clicking the link below. Enjoy!