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Want to make the best mojito? You need a good muddler.
What You Need To Know
A muddler is an important tool for any home bar; it's primarily used to crush fruit and herbs so they express their essential oils and/or juices for use in cocktails. We wanted to know which muddler was best for home bartenders, so we ordered seven widely available options, priced from about $5 to about $18, and used them to muddle lime wedges, mint, and sugar cubes in a variety of vessels and to make mojitos.
All the muddlers were capable of making decent drinks, but a few factors made certain models more durable, easier to use, and better performers overall.
The first factor? Length. Most of the time, we muddle directly in a cocktail shaker so that we can add and mix the rest of the drink ingredients afterward. Because the mixing cups of most cocktail shakers, including our winner, are 6 or 7 inches tall, we preferred muddlers that were at least 9.5 inches long. The longer the model, the taller it stood in the shaker, giving us more to hold on to when we pounded limes and mint. Shorter models worked well enough when we muddled sugar cubes in a squat old-fashioned glass but left only a stubby inch or so to grab when we used them with the shakers.
For similar reasons, we also liked muddlers that had discrete handles, or at least a bit of a taper or indentation between the muddling end and the end meant to be held. With no indentations, cylindrical models were a bit harder to grasp for longer periods since they didn't provide a natural resting place for our hands. We also preferred models made from materials that were easier to grip, such as unvarnished wood or bamboo, or that had rubbery plastic overlays on their handles; smooth plastic models were a little too slick to hold on to, especially when they got splashed with drink ingredients.
We found that we liked muddlers with heads that were at least 1.5 inches in diameter. Models with smaller heads couldn't cover as much territory as quickly, taking slightly more time to get all the juice out of the limes. And we preferred models with a little weight to them; 5 to 6 ounces was ideal, allowing gravity to do some of the work for us without becoming tiresome to use. Lighter models required us to use a bit more force; the one heavier model, weighing nearly a pound, fatigued our arms and felt cumbersome and a little dangerous when used in the old-fashioned glass.
Textured Heads Make Slightly More Fragrant Drinks
The style of the head itself made a small difference in the flavor of a finished drink. Some professional bartenders claim that muddlers with textured heads—heads covered with a nubbly grid or bumps—make bitter or muddy-tasting drinks because they dig too d...
Everything We Tested
Reviews you can trust
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