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When it’s cocktail time, you might need a few special tools that aren’t in your normal cooking arsenal. Muddlers have become more important with the popularity of drinks like the mojito, but they’re useful for any craft cocktails or drinks that benefit from having the flavors of fruits, vegetables, and herbs infused into the drink, but not blended in.
Muddlers come in a variety of lengths and materials. Taller muddlers are handy for making drinks in larger quantities in pitchers, while smaller muddlers work will in individual glasses and take less storage space when you’re done making drinks.
Besides using a muddler for cocktails, you can also use it for crushing ginger or garlic, although you might want to make sure you wash it thoroughly after using it for garlic lest your cocktails pick up that flavor. Or, keep one for cocktails and sweets while you tuck one away for savory needs.
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Best Overall: Arctic Chill 3-Piece Stainless Steel Muddling Set
This set checks all the right boxes. It includes two extras along with the 8-inch muddler, yet it’s very affordable. The muddler itself is made from stainless steel with a nylon head that’s sturdy enough to mash your limes and herbs, but it won’t scratch your glassware. The handle has a comfortable rounded top, so you won’t be pressing a sharp edge into your palm.
The included two-sided jigger that measures one or two ounces will help you measure properly, and a long spoon will let you stir drinks. The opposite end of the spoon has a cocktail fork, so you can use it to spear olives or other garnishes to add to your drinks. When cocktail time is over, all parts are dishwasher safe, so you don’t need to take special care of the set.
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Best Budget: 10" Stainless Steel Cocktail Muddler and Mixing Spoon
While this might not be the absolutely cheapest muddler you’ll find, the extras make it one of the best values you’ll find. The 10-inch muddler is made from stainless steel with a nylon head that’s very sturdy, but won’t damage your glassware. The rounded top is comfortable to hold and to press down on when you’re mashing fruits in the bottom of the glass, and the attractive long spoon is great for stirred drinks, while the opposite end of the spoon is a cocktail fork that will help you spear slippery maraschino cherries from the jar when you need them. The final item in the kit is an ebook with recipes and instructions, so you’ll be confident when mixing your first cocktails.
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Best Splurge: Mojito Muddlers 11" Professional Grade Bamboo Muddler
Made from sturdy and sustainable bamboo, with an attractive design, this muddler makes a statement. At 11 inches long, you can use this in your tall tiki glasses or in a pitcher when you’re making drinks for a crowd.
There are no coatings or varnishes on this muddler, yet it won’t soak in liquids or get soggy with extended use during a party, and it won’t splinter or crack with normal use. The bamboo material is naturally antibacterial, so you can feel confident with hand-washing it to keep it clean between uses. Despite the size, this is lightweight, so it’s not tiring to use, while the large rounded end makes it comfortable when you’re making multiple pitchers of mojitos or sangria for a crowd.
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Best Plastic: Winco Netted Head Muddler
Lightweight, durable, and affordable, this 8 1/8 inch long polycarbonate muddler in classic black might not be the star of the show, but it does its job well. Unlike metal muddlers, it won’t transfer the cold to your hand when you’re working in chilly drinks, yet it’s sturdy enough to muddle fruits and herbs for all of your cocktails and it won’t damage your glassware. Since it’s molded in a single piece, there are no seams that could collect food particles. When you’re done muddling and mixing, this is dishwasher safe.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
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Best Wooden: Extra Long Cocktail Muddler
This 12-inch long muddler will fit into your carafes and pitchers to muddle fruits and herbs for your mojitos, sangrias, and more. The rounded end is comfortable to hold, while the wood is gentle on your glassware. Unlike most muddlers that have spikey ends that piece the food, this has a flat end that mashes without breaking the food, releasing bitter compounds, or getting bits of food stuck in the spikes. Made entirely from hardwood beech, this doesn’t have any coatings that could wear or flake off, yet it’s resistant to absorbing liquid and it’s naturally anti-microbial, so you can use it with confidence.
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Best Bamboo: HIC Harold Import Co. Natural Bamboo Mojito Muddler
Made from renewable and sustainable bamboo, this sturdy, attractive 8 1/2-inch long muddler won’t absorb liquid like wooden muddlers can, and it won’t transfer the chill to your hand the way some metal muddlers will. The bamboo is hard enough to handle your toughest fruits, yet it won’t scratch your glassware and the textured end helps break up fruits and herbs to release flavor, while the rounded end makes this easy to hold and to press down as you muddle. This doesn’t have any coatings or lacquers that could flake off into your drinks, so you can be confident when aggressively mashing the fruit. Like other wooden cooking gadgets, this should be hand washed when you’re done making cocktails.
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Best Stainless Steel: OXO Steel Muddler
The unique shape of this 9-inch long muddler makes it comfortable to use and hold, whether you’re pushing down on the wide top or holding it from the side using the soft grip that helps protect your hand from the chill of the drink. The body of this muddler is made from sturdy stainless steel that gives it weight to aid in mashing, while it’s also stain-resistant and attractive, with a brushed finish. The bottom of the muddler has a nubby surface that helps to mash fruits while extracting flavor from herbs. Made from nylon, that bottom is sturdy enough to mash hard foods like ginger for drinks and for recipes. When you’re done meddling and mashing, this is dishwasher safe for easy cleaning.
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Best for Mojitos: Clear Glass 30-oz Mason Jar Muddler & Stainless Steel Jigger
Even if you’ve never made a mojito before, this kit makes it easy. It includes a wooden muddler and a stainless steel two-sided jigger that measures 1/2 or 1-ounce, so you’ll be ready for any recipe. It also includes a 30-ounce mason jar shaker for making cocktails in quantities, along with a stainless steel shaker lid and cap so you can strain to serve or remove the lid and pour.
The muddler is made from uncoated wood and sized to fit comfortably in the jar, but of course you can use it in your own glasses and containers as well. The muddler has a rounded top and a spiky bottom, for muddling all your fruits and herbs with ease. The jar and jigger are dishwasher safe for easy cleaning when cocktails are done, but the wooden muddler should be hand washed, like all of your other wooden utensils.
Our writers spent 5 hours researching the most popular cocktail muddlers on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 16 different muddlers overall, screened options from 10 different brands and manufacturers, read over 7 user reviews (both positive and negative), and tested 3 of the muddlers themselves. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.