Muddling Cocktails

Why muddle a cocktail?

It’s a similar process to build, with the key difference being that fresh ingredients are firstly crushed together to release flavours and aromas before the rest of the process is carried out.

Muddling may also be used in conjunction with other processes such as shaking.


How you muddle will depend on the recipe you are making, if there are soft herbs, like mint in the recipe, be gentle, just lightly agitate the leaves and leave them whole.

However, there are some basic rules to follow:

  • Where you add ingredients – usually you will add all the ingredients you want to Muddle into the glass in which you will serve the drink. Sometimes however, there is a secondary process needed, such as Shaking. In this case, the muddling would be done in the shaker rather than the glass. Always check the recipe’s instructions for details.

  • Use a ‘muddler’ – that can crush the ingredients together, different ingredients may need bigger or smaller sticks, rolling pins, or whatever the hell you can get your hands on that will do the job! You will also need to bear in mind what glass you are muddling in too, because your muddler will need to fit into it!

  • Use sugar – where possible, use sugar instead of syrup to sweeten the drink. The abrasive texture of sugar will help with the muddling process, breaking down the ingredients to release all their flavours.  

Once the ingredients are fully crushed, add the booze and any other liquids needed for the recipe, then use a spoon to fold it all together.

Muddle lime and orange

Unless there is soda or another lengthening ingredient in the recipe, you will need to fold in just a little bit of ice at first, so that it will melt and add the much needed dilution to the recipe. Usually crushed ice will work best in this style of drink.

Mojito close-up

When you have tasted to check for the correct amount of dilution and the overall balance of the drink, fill the glass with ice to make it nice and cold. As you do this, ensure the fresh ingredients you muddled into the drink get distributed evenly throughout the glass and are not left flat at the bottom.

Finally crushed ice is usually added until it’s mounded up above the rim of the glass.

Garnish and serve!

Try making these

How much juice can you squeeze from a lemon?!

Download Our FREE Cocktail Ingredients Guide

Get Nerdy With Our Latest & Greatest Recipes, Stories & Tips