Stick Drinks: Cocktails That Require a Muddler

Muddling is a common technique used in the bar. You may know it from popular drinks like the Mojito, Mint Julep, Old-fashioned, and Caipirinha, but there are more fabulous recipes that require a little smash with the muddler. 

The technique of muddling is very simple: take a thick stick and smash your ingredients in a glass or cocktail shaker. It is the perfect way to release the juices from fruits and the essences of herbs and it is used to create some of the freshest cocktails you can make.

While muddling is not a new technique, it fell out of favor for a number of years because it was often thought as too much work to put into making a drink. This is certainly not true and we are seeing more and more bartenders reach for the muddler when developing new recipes.

In the following pages, you will find over 100 fun and tasty cocktails that begin with a little muddling action. From the popular rum cocktails to market-fresh vodka recipes, there is sure to be a drink in this collection for everyone.

  • 01 of 07

    Muddled Rum Cocktails

    Caipirinha Cocktail
    The Spruce / S&C Design Studios

    Rum is one of the most common base spirits used alongside a muddler. This is because the cocktails often have a tropical flair and feature fresh fruits that need to be broken down.

    Popular Muddled Rum Cocktails

    Among the most famous rum recipes that need to be muddled are these three shining stars of the cocktail world. 

    • Caipirinha - cachaca with muddled lime and sugar
    • Hot Buttered Rum - dark rum with muddled butter, sugar, and spices
    • Mojito - rum with muddled mint, sugar, and club soda

    More Muddled Rum Cocktails

    Once you fall in love with the Caipirinha and Mojito, you will want to expand your palate and give one of these recipes a taste. Many of them are simply adaptations of those popular drinks and they often bring in a different fruit or add some simple and fun new twist.

  • 02 of 07

    Muddled Whiskey Cocktails

    Mint Julep

    The Spruce / Claire Cohen

    Whiskey also makes an appearance in many muddled cocktails and you will need a muddler to make a few of the best whiskey drinks ever created.

    Popular Whiskey Smash Recipes

    As soon as you own a muddler, you will want to try these whiskey drinks. They are unbelievably easy and the perfect recipes for accenting your favorite premium whiskey.

    • Mint Julep - bourbon with muddled mint and sugar
    • Old-fashioned - bourbon with muddled orange, sugar cube, and bitters
    • Sazerac - rye whiskey with a muddled sugar cube and Peychaud's Bitters
    • Whiskey Smash - bourbon with muddled mint and lemon

    More Muddled Whiskey Cocktails

    Moving past the basics, it's time to get a little wild. The following recipes are modern creations that are sure to put a spark back into your cocktail routine.

  • 03 of 07

    Muddled Vodka Cocktails

    Popular Kiwi Martini with Vodka
    Fresh kiwi fruit is the star of this simple, beautiful, and delicious vodka martini. Jan Tyler / E+ / Getty Images

    Vodka may not be the first liquor you think of when it comes to muddling, but it is used in a lot of modern recipes. That is because fresh is one of the hottest trends on the bar scene and vodka is always hot, so it is an ideal match.

    Muddled Vodka Cocktails You Should Try

    Among the many vodka cocktails on this list, I wanted to pull a few out to bring to your attention. These seven cocktails show off the full range of vodka drinks, from spicy to sweet and any of them will impress even the most finicky of drinkers.

    More Muddled Vodka Cocktails

    Vodka is the perfect base for any market- and garden-fresh cocktails. Its semi-transparent flavor is ideal for sweet fruits, warm spices, and fresh herbs and this collection is definitely not boring.

  • 04 of 07

    Muddled Tequila Cocktails

    Maestro Dobel Tequila's Spicy Pina Cocktail
    A little pineapple, a little tequila, a splash of orange juice, and, oh yeah... jalapenos! That is the Spicy Pina. Brian Macdonald / Photodisc / Getty Images

    Tequila has a lot of flavor potential and we are seeing more tequila cocktails employ the muddler. You will see many fruits used in these recipes, but also take note of the hot peppers because spicy drink lovers will want to try those beauties.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07

    Muddled Gin Cocktails

    Bombay Sapphire Gin's Pineapple and Sage Gimlet Punch Recipe
    Place a spin on the popular Gimlet and mix up this Pineapple and Sage Gimlet in punch form... perfect for brunch!.

    Photo courtesy of Bombay Sapphire Gin

    Gin meets the muddler? While unusual and certainly breaks the tradition of gin favorites like the Martini and Gin & Tonic, you will quickly discover why these two elements of the bar are a perfect match.

    5 Featured Gin Smash Drinks

    No muddled gin cocktail is exactly popular - known and loved worldwide - yet there are a few drinks I feel you should try. These five easy and super-fresh recipes show off the full potential of gin drinks in their freshest form.

    More Muddled Gin Cocktails

    If you still don't think that gin can stretch into new worlds, these cocktails will quickly change your mind.

  • 06 of 07

    Muddled Brandy Cocktails

    Classic Brandy Smash Cocktail
    The Spruce Eats / S&C Design Studios

    Brandy is used much like whiskey when the muddler is needed. In fact, you will find that a number of these brandy-based drinks mimic our favorite whiskey smashes. The first three recipes are also old-timey classics that you will want to taste.

  • 07 of 07

    More Muddled Cocktails & Mocktails

    Kyoto Sour Cocktail
    The Kyoto Sour is a fun grapefruit and sake sour with a surprising spice and it's great with sushi. Rob Palmer / Photolibrary / Getty Images

    There are a number of muddled recipes that skip the base liquor completely. In this first set of recipes, you will discover drinks that rely on a spirit of a different kind. They're unique and a lot of fun.

    • Besame - Agavero with muddled lime and raspberries
    • La Vie En Rouge - Grand Marnier with muddled rosemary and simple syrup
    • Treetini - VeeV Acai Spirit with muddled orange

    Muddled Mocktails

    Finally, you don't always have to include booze just to use your muddler. The following recipes are tasty non-alcoholic drinks that everyone can enjoy.