PUG Muddler, stands for Pick Up Gallagher’s
$30 - $48, plus shipping (depending on seller and wood used)
- Star Shaker (Europe)
- The Boston Shaker (US)
- Contact Chris Gallagher (US)
Created by a dedicated woodworking artisan from Cornwall, Hudson Valley in New York, these muddlers are all handcrafted from the best wood he can source. He uses mainly maple, cherry, and jatoba but he also uses other wood available as long as it passes the main qualifications he requires for his muddlers.
Each PUG muddler is finely crafted from choice wood carefully selected based on durability and attractiveness. The Pug is mostly recognizable by its sharply angled handle. The word PUG! Is etched in each muddler. Spoiler alert: there are Canadian and US websites that sell pug muddlers but if they do not have the signature etched “PUG!” then it may be a counterfeit or clone. These are also considerably more expensive than the ones produced by Gallagher.
The first that will attract you to the muddler is the strong angle on the handle. While other muddlers are usually flattened or rounded on the handle, this one decided to defy that norm. The muddler is also on the longish (11.5” or 29cm), although there is a 13-inch one on Amazon. The head is also larger at 1 ¼ inches while the handle is at 1 ½ inches, giving a perfect grip for better muddling.
The best test for any bar tool is to try it in making your favorite cocktails.Length: Unlike the shorter muddlers that leave your knuckles bruised when muddling in larger cocktail glasses or shaker tins, this one has just the right height so your hand and knuckles are clear from the rim of the muddling glass.
Feel: The Pug muddler has just the right weight in your hands, not too heavy to cause unnecessary fatigue and not too light to need more pressure than needed. Its smooth finish also helps to prevent blisters even when you have to muddle so many ingredients over the course of your shift.
Design: The design and size allow you to use the muddler with ease. Depending on your favored hold on the muddler, you can hold the body (where the etching is) or on the angled base, with the palm on the flat of the angle). Either way, the hand is more relaxed.
The head also fits well in the glass, making it more stable on the table or counter. With smaller, the wider movement of the muddler inside the glass can bruise some parts of the ingredients while neglecting some. It can also cause accidents as pressure is on one side of the glass, causing it to tip over or shoot off to the floor.
Since it is made from a single piece of wood instead of pieced and glued together as in some mass-produced wooden muddlers, having no chips means no ingredients lodged in between the cracks and dents. It is also far more sanitary to use in the long run compared to steel muddlers with silicone or ABS plastic heads as the liquids may seep into the cracks and in between joined parts, causing molds and other disease-causing foreign matters.
Finish. The muddler is well-treated and the grain of the wood tight and sealed making it less prone to damage from wear and tear. It does not have any lacquer or paint and coating that may be mixed with your cocktail.
The Pug muddler is a good addition to any professional bar due to its attributes mentioned in this review. In the home bar setting, it can be a good conversation piece while you leisurely prepare drinks for your friends. It is a bit on the expensive side as can be expected of handcrafted tools.
It offers more value as there is no need to purchase a new muddler that may have chipped, broken, or dented parts. Imagine years and years of comfortable use of the muddler, your hand well adjusted to its size. You may want to purchase a new one but it would probably still be a Pug muddler.
A Look at the Artisan
Chris Gallagher decided to start making muddlers during a Cocktails in the Country Seminar given by Gary “Gaz” Regan (1951-2019). Regan, best known as the author of The Joy of Mixology (Clarkson Potter, 2003) aside from 17 other books, all of which related to bartending and cocktails. By the end of the seminar, Regan had commissioned Gallagher, a professional woodworker and sculptural woodturner, a 22-inch version of the Pug.
While he usually uses local maple and cherry and imported jatoba, he also uses some exotic wood that he feels would make a good muddler. He chooses wood that is dense, heavy and has an interesting grain and color. It also helps that the wood gets a shinier look over time, instead of having small wooden fuzz, chips, and dents. To keep it in its tip-top condition, a periodic application of mineral oil is very helpful. Do not wash in the dishwasher and only use mild dishwashing detergent.
Still under construction as of this review
Email Chris Gallagher at firstname.lastname@example.org