My muddler and I have had a lot of good times together. It helps me get out some pent-up aggression and I get a tasty cocktail out of the deal. You might say it’s therapeutic. I bought my first muddler in San Juan, Puerto Rico, at the House of Bacardi. I knew I would use it when I make my exxxtra-minty mojitos. I had no idea that I would use it as frequently as I do, and with many different kinds of herbs, fruits, and other aromatics. Muddling is the technique that inspired the name Crushed Cocktails.
A muddler is a long, thin utensil, usually with teeth on one end. It looks kind of like it could be a kinky sex toy, but it’s not – it’s used to bruise and crush various aromatics to help them release their flavors. Typically, the aromatic is muddled with sugar and a small quantity of liquid before other ingredients are added. How much or how little you muddle something depends on how much flavor you wish to impart to your cocktail, and whether you want large or small pieces of it in your cocktail. (No pieces also is an option; just use a fine mesh strainer.)
All of the recipes in this section require a muddler. I recommend a metal one with plastic teeth and a comfortable handle end, but you also can purchase a wooden one if you prefer. If you have a mortar and pestle, that may work for some applications, but if you’re going to make more than one muddled cocktail, it’s best to make the very small investment in a muddler. My recipes usually specify that the muddling be done in a cocktail shaker, but it also can be done in the serving glass if you want all of the pieces to remain in the cocktail. Get yourself one of these sleek and sexy tools, and muddle away!