The 10 Best Muddlers
This wiki has been updated 14 times since it was first published in May of 2020. Muddlers are an essential piece of kit for anyone that takes making drinks seriously, whether you're at home or in a bar. They work like a pestle and mortar, pressing ingredients like leaves, sugar, and fruit together. As they come in a range of sizes, with either flat or nubby heads, and can be made from a number of different materials, it's important to match the right one to your needs. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
October 16, 2020:
The muddler is an indispensable piece of kit for those who are into making cocktails like mojitos, mint juleps, caipirinhas, and old-fashioneds. This is because all these drinks have a muddling stage, where certain ingredients like fruit wedges, sugar, bitters, and leaves must be pressed together. Not only does this blend the flavours together and dissolve the sugar, it also expresses the natural oils and aromas from herbs like mint.
There is still a lot of disagreement in the professional world surrounding which type of head is best for muddling. While some favor ends that have sharp teeth for breaking down leaves, like the Barvivo Tool, many bartenders maintain that items like the A Bar Above Hardwood are better, as the flat tops ensure you don't rip the leaves too much. Tearing into the leaves not only causes unsightly small bits to get through the strainer and into the drink, but more importantly, it can release the chlorophyll, which will turn your drink green and taste very bitter, like grass.
What bartenders do agree on is that muddlers should have a decent length of around 10 inches or more. This is because most mixing tins (the bottom part of a cocktail shaker) you find in bars are around 7 inches tall, so if you have a short muddler, you run the risk of constantly scraping your knuckles on the edge of the tin, and getting you hands covered in sugar and lemon. Many mixologists also prefer their muddlers to be made from wood, as it means there is no risk of chipping or scratching glassware as you work. Both the Mojito Pro Bamboo and the Fletchers' Mill Cocktail satisfy both these criteria.
The problem with wood however, is that it needs to be handwashed and carefully dried, otherwise it can split or warp over time. It can also retain the flavour of your last drink a little, so it needs a decent scrub between uses. Stainless steel options like the Cresimo 10-Inch and the Oxo Steel solve this issue, as they can be thrown in the dishwasher and the nylon heads won't damage your glasses.
For home use, we recommend more compact options that will fit easily into your utensil drawers like the Winco Netted Head, which is the only model on the list made from plastic, or the Triple Life Cocktail, which has a very sleek and slender design. The Steso Wooden is quite practical, as it can be used as a pestle too if you have a suitable mortar lying around, and for a bit of fun at parties and barbecues, why not bring out the huge Barillio Big-Shot to start breaking your ice blocks to bits?