Muddling made a comeback in 2002. At least it did for me.
I still remember that magical moment. The seducer was the famed and alluring Cuban mojito.
And boy, was I smitten.
I was travelling with my husband on business in New York City, somewhere in the lower West End, and someone suggested mojitos. It was new to me. A pitcher arrived with a heavenly scent of mint and a gorgeous scene of swirling pieces of the green herb as it was neatly poured into our awaiting glasses.
Freshness, newness and rum. What more could I want (besides a taxi after it was over)? This was NYC, and every block introduced new savory sensations and possibilities.
For the past eight or so years, muddling has come in and out of my life. Mainly in cocktails, other times when adding a garnish to a dish.
Because of the commonness of muddling in my life, I must apologize for assuming. I’ve assumed that everyone knows how to muddle!
But I screwed up. I mentioned muddling (twice!) in my recent lemonade post. I assumed everyone knew how to muddle.
Thank you, Heidi, for asking me how to muddle!
First, why should you muddle?
Muddling gently releases the essence of the herb, fruit or ingredient so you can incorporate the full flavor into your drink. Think of it as a pestle and mortar for soft ingredients.
Is it hard?
Nope! It’s quite simple really. You get to use a cool tool and it is quick and easy.
How do you muddle?
1. Place the ingredient (I’ll use mint leaves as an example) in a thick bowl or glass. A cocktail shaker will do nicely.
2. Add a splash or water and a bit of sugar to the mint leaves.
3. Insert your muddler, give it a few twists. The goal is to release the aroma of the herb or to have the juices start to flow from your fruit.
4. That’s it. You’re done. See, I told you it was e-a-s-y!
What is a muddler? Where can I get one?
Rarely do I go into a store that has kitchen supplies where I don’t come across a muddler nowadays: Target, Williams-Sonoma, Bed Bath & Beyond, liquor stores, ebay, to name a few. I’m in love with Mountain Top Muddlers. They even have a “muddler of the month” for the serious lover of muddlers.
Back in 2002, I purchased my first muddler from Crate and Barrel.
Then my dad gave me one that my Grandpa hand-made and it is my absolute favorite (see photo at top of page). Isn't it gorgeous?
But wait… maybe you really don’t need an actual muddler. Is there an alternative?
I reached out to my twitter pal and fellow NWA’er, blakeclardy, to get his advice. If you’re not following Blake, you should. He’s smart, witty, and wayyyyy knowledgeable about all things liquor. He makes me think differently and expand my knowledge base. He also makes me crave a drink. Not a good thing early in the morning.
Here is his muddler-alternative advice:
Now you know all about Muddling 101.
What else can I help you with?
Drop my a comment or email at nwafoodie(at)gmail(dot)com.
Eat well, my friends. Eat well.