Do you need a muddler? Yes! To make proper cocktails with muddled ingredients, you need a muddler. But there is more to the simple muddler than what we are familiar with.
When do you need a muddler?
You’ll need a muddler when making cocktails like mojito, margarita, and mint julep among a few cocktails that need muddling the ingredients like the herbs and fruits or berries. The muddler can also double as an ice crusher in tandem with a Lewis bag.
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Tips when muddling
- Muddling is not pounding. If you pound, you might want to use the mortar and pestle. When muddling, remember these two words: press and twist. Lightly press the muddler to the ingredients and twist, still applying the same pressure.
- When muddling sugar, add a small amount of lemon juice or the liquor you are using to soften the sugar cube. Gently press the muddler to the sugar cube and twist while continuing to apply light pressure.
- When muddling herbs, know your herbs. Mint needs only slight pressure while basil can be muddled a bit more pressure than used on mint. Just enough pressure is needed to coax the aromas and some oil to be released. Too much pressure releases more essential oils and chlorophyll which can result in bitter cocktails.
Muddling specific ingredients
Gentle press and twist, enough to make it darker green but not crushed. Look at the veins of the mint leaf and other herbs. Your aim is to keep it intact. The veins contain the chlorophyll and if the veins break, the chlorophyll mixes with the cocktail, making it bitter.
When muddling, this is how you want your herbs to look like.
When muddling with sugar, this is the end result you are looking for.
2. Fruits and Vegetables
The pressure applied should be depending on the type of fruit used in the cocktail. For fruits with seeds, be careful of the seeds, especially if they are on the softer side so it will not be crushed and may affect the flavor of the cocktail.
The primary purpose of the muddler is to mash the ingredients so the essential oils, flavor, and aroma of the ingredients mix with the cocktail.
Even with as simple a tool as the muddler, it can do wonders in the overall performance of your cocktails. Even without an ice crusher, you can make mint julep with just a muddler and a Lewis bag. If you want to buy a muddler for yourself, check out this review and buying guide of the 10 best cocktail muddlers. Here are also some recipes of Mint Moscow Mule so you can make use of your muddler.