Best Muddlers

Updated July 2020
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

19 Models Considered
5 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
203 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best muddlers

Last Updated July 2020

If you really want to recreate the cocktails you enjoy at your favorite bar or restaurant, it all starts with having the right equipment for your home bar. You probably already have a cocktail shaker, jigger, ice tongs, and proper glasses, but if you love caipirinhas, mojitos, and Old Fashioneds, you’ll definitely need a muddler, too.

A muddler is a pestle that’s used specifically for preparing cocktails. Its long, cylindrical shape can easily reach to the bottom of a cocktail shaker or mixing glass, allowing you to crush fruit and herbs with sugar and other ingredients to help them release their juices and/or oils. For example, when you’re making a mojito, you need a muddler to crush the limes and mint leaves to get the right flavor for your cocktail.

With so many muddlers to choose from, finding the right option for your home bar can be a challenge. Our buying guide has all the information you need to choose the best muddler for your bar cart. If you’re still not sure which muddler to buy, we’re offering some specific product recommendations to help get your shopping started.

If you add ice to a cocktail shaker before you muddle, you’ll wind up crushing the ice and diluting the overall flavor of your cocktail.

Key considerations

Material

Muddlers are typically made of wood, plastic, or steel. Each material has its pros and cons, so choosing one is mostly a matter of personal preference and budget.

Wood: These muddlers are the most common and traditional options. Most resemble a mini-baseball bat and have a flat end, though you can find some that are cylindrical, like a rolling pin. Wood muddlers are incredibly durable and work efficiently to crush fruit and other cocktail ingredients. You can even use a wooden muddler to crack ice cubes.

Because wood is a porous, natural material, it can harbor stains and bacteria very easily, so it must be cleaned thoroughly after each use. Wooden muddlers aren’t dishwasher safe, so you have to take the time to hand-wash them. You must also dry a wooden muddle thoroughly, or it can crack or warp over time. Avoid varnished wooden muddlers, because the varnish coating can erode over time and leach into your cocktails.

Plastic: These muddlers are typically lower maintenance than wooden ones because you can usually clean them in the dishwasher. And they aren’t as likely to develop mold, bacteria, or stains. Plastic muddlers are more affordable than wood or stainless steel options, but they aren’t as durable. They also have a tendency to slip in your hand, especially when wet.

Stainless steel: These muddlers are also lower maintenance than wood models because most can be cleaned in the dishwasher. They also aren’t likely to develop mold, bacteria, or stains. Stainless steel muddlers are more durable than plastic models and usually work more quickly to crush ingredients. Stainless steel muddlers cost more than wooden or plastic ones.

Size

Length: A muddler should be long enough to reach into the bottom of a cocktail shaker or mixing glass. Cocktail shakers are typically 6 to 7 inches tall, so a muddler that’s a minimum of 9.5 inches is your best bet, giving you a large enough portion of the muddler to grip when you’re crushing ingredients. If you want to muddle ingredients in shorter glasses, you can opt for one that’s around 7 or 8 inches long.

Width: For the best results, opt for a muddler with a fairly wide head, so you’re able to crush a larger amount of the ingredients and work more quickly. Muddlers with a head that’s at least 1.5 inches in diameter can help you crush all the juice and oil from fruits, herbs, and other ingredients as quickly as possible.

Weight: A muddler should have a decent amount of weight to it, so you don’t have to use as much arm or hand strength to muddle your cocktails. But you don’t want the muddler to be too heavy or your arm may get tired. Opt for one that weighs approximately 5 to 6 ounces for the best results.

EXPERT TIP

Be careful when muddling delicate herbs like basil and mint. If you crush them too much, they can take on a bitter flavor.


Staff  | BestReviews

Features

Finish

You’ll get the best results if you choose a muddler with a smooth surface. If it’s rough or porous, it’s more likely to soak up the juice or oils from the fruits and herbs when you’re muddling, which can dilute the flavor of your cocktails.

Textured head

Many muddlers have a smooth head, but some have a textured head. The texture is used to crush citrus pith and herbs more effectively and extract all the juice and oil. Some users find that a muddler with a textured head makes bitter cocktails, though, because it cuts into ingredients too deeply. You may want to experiment with both types of muddlers to see which one produces cocktails with the best flavor.

Handle

It’s a good idea to choose a muddler with a distinct handle. In most cases, that usually means that the muddler body has some type of tapered shape or indentation that makes it easier to hold the muddler comfortably while you’re working. If your muddler is completely cylindrical, your hand can get tired when you use it for longer periods.

Nonslip grip: Wooden muddlers usually have a slight texture, which provides a solid grip when you’re muddling. Plastic and stainless steel muddlers tend to be fairly smooth, which means they can get slippery, especially when wet. Look for a model with a rubberized non-slip grip that keeps the muddler steady in your hand.

Storage bag

Some muddlers come with a storage bag that you can keep it in when it’s not in use. A bag can help to keep it clean and free of damage when it’s in a drawer with other kitchen tools.

EXPERT TIP

A muddler with an ergonomic grip can help prevent hand fatigue if you need to make a large batch of cocktails for a party.


Staff  | BestReviews

Accessories

Bar set: Cresimo Cocktail Bar Set
If a muddler isn’t the only bar tool you need, a bar set can be an affordable way to get a bunch of tools that make preparing cocktails easier. One of our favorites is this 12-piece, stainless steel set from Cresimo because it contains durable tools with a nice weight and even includes recipes and a stand to hold the tools against the wall to save space.

Cocktail shaker: Franmara Cocktail Shaker
A cocktail shaker is essential for making delicious cocktails at home because it allows you to mix all your muddled ingredients perfectly with your chosen spirits. We love this 24-ounce shaker because it’s large enough to make two cocktails at once and is made of high-quality 18/10 stainless steel.

Highball drinking glasses: Paksh Novelty Italian Highball Glasses
For muddled cocktails that are served in larger quantities, you’ll need a good set of highball glasses. These six 13-ounce glasses from Paksh Novelty are a favorite because of their sleek, modern design.

Muddler prices

Muddlers vary in price based on their material and size. Most models range from $4 to $35.

Inexpensive: The most affordable muddlers are usually made of plastic or varnished wood. They typically have a smooth head and don’t come with a storage bag. You can expect to pay between $4 and $15 for these.

Mid-range: These muddlers are typically made of stainless steel. They can have a smooth or textured head and may come with a storage bag. These generally cost between $7 and $30.

Expensive: The most expensive muddlers are usually made of solid, unvarnished wood. They often have a textured head and may come with a storage bag. You’ll typically pay between $9 and $35 for these.

EXPERT TIP

If you don’t have any simple syrup on hand, muddling sugar with your citrus fruits or berries can help dissolve the sugar into your cocktail.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • Muddle in a shaker or glass. For most cocktails, you should place the ingredients that you want to muddle in the bottom of a cocktail shaker or mixing glass. However, some cocktails like an Old Fashioned or caipirinha can be muddled right in the serving glass.
  • Muddle first. Muddle ingredients in your cocktail shaker or another container before adding the ice and liquid ingredients.
  • Avoid muddling in plastic. Don’t muddle in a cocktail shaker or mixing cup with a plastic bottom because it could crack easily if you exert enough pressure.
  • Muddle correctly. Get a good grip on your muddler and rotate the handle as you press firmly down on your ingredients. It usually takes four to six rotations to muddle the ingredients fully.

Other products we considered

There are plenty of high-quality muddlers on the market, so we couldn’t include all those worth checking out on our shortlist. We really like the Native Spring Muddler because its stainless steel body features a smooth, rounded end for gentle muddling and a textured nylon end for more aggressive muddling. It’s also 9 inches long to fit nearly all cocktail shakers.

We also love the Hiware Muddler Set because it includes a 10-inch muddler and a mixing spoon, so you can mix up the best-tasting cocktail possible. Both are dishwasher safe, and the muddler features a textured nylon head to pulverized fruits and herbs with ease. 

If you’re muddling different types of ingredients, start with those that require more time to muddle, such as citrus fruits and berries. Don’t add delicate items like mint leaves until you’re nearly finished with the hardier ingredients.

FAQ

Q. Can’t I just muddle my cocktail ingredients with a spoon?
A.
In a pinch, you can use a wooden spoon or ladle to muddle ingredients for your cocktails. However, if you regularly entertain and prepare cocktails at home, it’s a good idea to invest in a muddler because you’ll get much better results. A muddler is specifically designed to extract as much juice and/or oils from fruits, herbs, and other ingredients as possible and allows you to work more quickly.

Q. What cocktails require the use of a muddler to make?
A.
While there are plenty of cocktail recipes that call for muddling, there are several popular beverages that require a muddler to prepare. If you enjoy mojitos, caipirinhas, caipiroskas, mint juleps, or Old Fashioneds, you’ll definitely need a muddler.

Q. What type of muddler is the most versatile?
A.
In general, a stainless steel muddler offers the most versatility. It’s heavy enough to muddle harder ingredients like spices, but it also allows for more gentle muddling of delicate herbs like mint. It’s also easy to clean because it’s dishwasher safe and durable enough to last for years.

Other Products We Considered
The BestReviews editorial team researches hundreds of products based on consumer reviews, brand quality, and value. We then choose a shorter list for in-depth research and testing before finalizing our top picks. These are the products we considered that ultimately didn't make our top 5.
The team that worked on this review
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    Amber
    Writer
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Ciera
    Ciera
    Digital Content Producer
  • Jennifer
    Jennifer
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

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