One essential tool for summer cocktails is the muddler. Spring and summer cocktails (as you've seen so far) call for lots of herbs and fruit, which have to be mashed and bruised to release their flavor. A muddler is often called for in recipes for mojitos and mint juleps, and it's nothing more than a heavy round stick with a flat bottom.
You don't have to use a special tool, of course; we often use the back of a spoon or a long pestle. But if you're in the market for a good muddler, here are several that we like. From left to right, above:
• 8" Stainless Steel Muddler
, with rubber tip and handle, which is kinder on your hands and your glasses. $9.99 at Amazon.
• 10" Artisanal Wood Muddler
, hand turned by a New York artisan. Bright, colorful, and hand-made! Support artists and crafters. $29.99 at Etsy.
• 11" Corkpops Wood Muddler
, the most basic muddler. $6.99 at Chef Central.
Do you use a muddler? Or do you use something else - a more common tool in your kitchen? What's the best thing you've found to muddle your mint and basil?
Related: Straight Up: Using Shiso in Cocktails (Mojitos and More)