Tool - Muddler
by Billie Ann Woo
What is a muddler? And if you saw one, would you know what it’s used for? This clever tool is used primarily behind the bar, although one could find many other ways to use it. Consider it like a pestle (of a mortar and pestle) – used to grind up herbs, oils and other aromatics into pastes or fine powders. A muddler is like a pestle of the bartending world – it is used to smash fruits and herbs at the bottom of a glass for the maximum flavour extraction and permeation. Drinks like mojitos use muddlers to mash aromatics into sugar and liquids so that the flavours are pronounced. Without muddling, the mint in mojitos would simply be a garnish! I use mine to muddle lime slices with sugar, which is then topped with a generous shot of cachaca (cane sugar rum) to make a potent caipirinha. I also like to muddle fresh pineapple and top with ginger beer and maybe a splash of Cointreau for a summery and fizzy drink.
Tip: Ensure that your muddler is properly cleaned so that no flavours are retained!
Trick: Use a muddler in your cooking too – the teeth on the bottom of the tool is handy to break up chunks of garlic in oil or when wrapped in plastic wrap – a meat tenderizer!