Muddling is a simple process used by bartenders to release the flavors of fresh ingredients in order to bind with alcohol. Use a muddler to, gently press the ingredients against the bottom or sides of a mixing glass. Muddlers come in a variety of shapes and sizes and are made from materials like bamboo, metal, stone, and wood. Additionally, many bar spoons have an end capable of muddling ingredients; however, most bartenders prefer a stand-alone muddler with a larger head for more speed.
A common error, especially with delicate herbs like basil and mint, is to over muddle while working, which imparts an undesirable bitter taste in the drink. When working with herbs like this, work gently using light pressure and only tap a few times with the muddler or ditch the muddler completely and use a rolling technique. Fruits and firmer herbs need more pressure to release and lend themselves nicely to this technique.
The mojito and Mint Julep are two famous cocktails that use this technique.« Back to Glossary Index