Last Updated on March 6, 2021 by Bill Allen
How to Muddle a Drink Correctly!
One of the easiest skills to acquire even as a home bartender is learning on how to muddle a drink correctly. And although the first time or two you give muddling a try may be a bit messy, you’ll quickly get the hang of it, especially once you realize the drastic difference between a properly muddled drink and one that was just mushed up for a moment.
The term “Muddle”, in the bartending sense, means to crush the ingredients of a drink together so that the flavors can be released and ultimately combined in the drink.
Muddling isn’t new. Even though you may not necessarily know about what it means, muddling has most certainly been used in some of your favorite drinks you’ve indulged in before. The technique has been used by mixologists for quite some time and truth be told, muddling ingredients is utilized just as frequently and is equally as valuable as blending or straining.
For the process of muddling, ingredients are paired by way of crushing them together using something called a muddler. This is normally performed right in the glass that will be used to build the drink, and is also carried out right before most of the cocktail’s liquid ingredients are poured. It may sound as if this technique is more or less basic, but you will find there are actually a multitude of ways to muddle.
How to Muddle a Drink?
Many people feel that muddling the ingredients using only an up and down motion is the best way. Other people utilize an even less aggressive way by just rotating the muddler to gently blend the ingredients. And there’s even some who go with a combination of the two versions to accomplish the perfectly mixed product for a true upscale drink experience.
No matter how it’s done, the key to muddling is to get a quality muddler. Then, smash the ingredients with the large end of your muddler against the sides and bottom of the mixing glass until they are ground and blended (I prefer to count to 10 or use about 10 sweeps of the muddler).
The Flavor and Experience
Don’t worry about whether you have muddled for years or you’ve just discovered this useful skill you need to add it to your drink making toolbox. Why is it important? Muddling can certainly make the difference between a common cocktail or a drink that is extraordinary. It heightens the taste from particular ingredients, such as citrus fruits, that you wouldn’t get if you didn’t add the element of muddling.
Drinks like an old fashioned, the mojito or caipirinha require the bartender to muddle ingredients as an integral part of the recipe. The flavor and experience of the drink wouldn’t be the same if the bartender just dropped the mint into the mojito. In fact, there would be virtually no flavor to it at all as with most ingredients, they hardly part any flavor until they are some how crushed or cut up.
So the next time you see the term “muddle,” grab your muddler and and get to it! Everyone’s tastebuds will be happy you did!