If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, Robb Report may receive an affiliate commission.
I’m ashamed to admit that the word “muddler” only entered my vernacular fairly recently. My drink of choice is a very dry Bombay martini with three olives. Second is a glass of Johnnie Walker Blue on the rocks, usually a double. It was only in the past month at a house party that I first held the tool that bartenders use to concoct the kinds of drinks I seldom request: a mojito, old fashioned, caipirinha or any cocktail that involves mashing berries, mint leaves, ice and other stuff in a glass.
Of course, I’ve seen muddlers in action; I’ve ordered a mojito or two in the past. But I didn’t know that the crucial step to make the drink—the act of extracting the juices and flavors from ingredients and then blending them together—is called muddling. I assumed the device was called a masher. Thankfully, the shindig I attended was hosted by a former bartender, who dutifully corrected me and presented the three different types of muddlers she uses regularly. The first was a stainless steel option with a sleek handle and gridded nylon ends. The following two were made of rich acacia, one with a flat end and the other rounded. She also told me that food-grade plastic is a viable option, and that a muddler comes in a variety of silhouettes and lengths. Every bartender has their own preference.
Essentially, the best muddlers should be be easy to grip, while also allowing you to press down on fresh produce with no fuss. And if you’re in the market to add one to your home bar, make sure to check out the selection below. Also make sure not to call them mashers.
Most Ergonomic Muddler
A Bar Above Black Cocktail Muddler
It should be no surprise that this muddler is beloved by mixologists; A Bar Above is, after all, a brand founded by a group of bartenders. The handle, measuring at 12.5 inches (the longest on this list), for one, will keep your hands clean, while its unique girth-y shape is designed to alleviate any strain from grinding. What’s more, the density of the plastic and rounded flat end will squeeze out the most flavor out of fruits and herbs. You don’t have to apply too much pressure to get maximum results. So, if you plan on serving a number of guests one evening, this ergonomic muddler will reduce any tension as you crank out cocktails.
- Material: Plastic
- Length: 12.5 in
Best Double-Sided Muddler
Cocktail Kingdom Badass Muddler
This muddler from Cocktail Kingdom certainly lives up to its name. Firstly, it is double-sided: One end has a textured surface that’ll grind hard ingredients, and the other is flat and rounded, perfect for stuff that doesn’t require too much pressure. Secondly, it is made out of the same kind of plastic used for cutting boards, which means it can take a beating. And last but not least, the handle features a textured surface that’ll prevent it from slipping out of your hands. Badass, indeed.
- Material: Plastic
- Length: 9.5 in
Best Two-in-One Muddler
Rabbit 2-In-1 Muddler & Reamer
Rabbit has a style that offers two tools for the price of one: a muddler, of course, and a reamer. One side features a cap (think of ballpoint pen), made of sturdy plastic, that detaches to reveal a compact juicer. It works great from citruses and other fruits that require some serious, well, juicing. And you could also use the reverse, which is made of beechwood and features a domed tip, to really pound out whatever needs pounding.
- Material: Beechwood and plastic
- Length: 10.43 in
Best Rustic Muddler
Twine Acacia Cocktail Muddler
This muddler is made of acacia—a durable wood that often imparts a rustic vibe. It features a wide crushing base that, depending on the pressure you apply, can be used for gentle muddling of herbs and fruits, as well as the heavy-duty jobs like cracking ice. Also, it comes with a matching burlap pouch.
- Material: Acacia
- Length: 8.75 in
Best Bamboo Muddler
HIC Kitchen Harold Import Co. Bamboo Mojito Muddler
Wood muddlers have been used in bars since the very first cocktails were mixed, and they are by far the most popular pick. This muddler, in particular, is crafted from 100 percent bamboo, which is quickly becoming a great alternative to traditional timber. This is because the material is tougher and more moisture-resistant than most other woods, which means this model will stand the test of time. The 8.5 inch muddler also has a comfortable round handle that allows you to smash to your heart’s content.
- Material: Bamboo
- Length: 8.5 in
Best Walnut Muddler
Crafthouse By Fortessa Wood Muddler
Walnut trees, as tradition prescribes, should be beaten. Now, thanks to celebrity bartender Charles Joy and his partnership with Crafthouse By Fortessa, it is the walnut that’s doing the beating. Not only is it one of the most stable woods in the taxonomy, it is also one of the richest, used for some of the finest furnishing in the market. And if that doesn’t get you, the ergonomic shape and beautiful details on this muddler should.
- Material: Walnut
- Length: 11.5 in
Best Stainless Steel Muddler
OXO Steel Muddler
Stainless steel muddlers are all the rage, primarily because they’re simple to clean. Unlike their wooden counterparts, you can just pop it in the dishwasher and get rid of any bacteria. And the best in the market right now is from OXO. Spanning an impressive nine inches, this modern muddler can reach the bottom of even the tallest glass and has a gridded rubber head to really mash up those ingredients. It can even crush ice.
- Material: Stainless and nylon
- Length: 9 in
Most Stylish Muddler
Farmhouse Pottery Craft Muddler
In the market for muddlers with a whole lot of look? Farmhouse Pottery has a pair of stunners. The first has a slight hourglass silhouette with flat ends, and is made of light wood with a smooth finish. Its sister comes in darker hue, and features a screw-shaped end that’s best for squeezing out juices from lime and other citruses. Indeed, both are so attractive that they could moonlight as decorative objects on a tabletop.
- Material: Wood
- Length: 9.25 in
Sur la Table Acacia Wood Muddler
If you’re looking to really muddle those herbs and berries, to really pound them, this club-shaped muddler from Sur la Table, a destination of some of the finest gadgets for the kitchen and bar, is for you. Made of durable acacia (see Twine), and featuring a wide head, it’ll extract flavors like none other. It’s a real killer.
- Material: Acacia
- Length: 8.5 in
Though simple in appearance, Barfly’s muddler is designed for maximum performance. Its long length, along with its slim, tapered shape will efficiently mash ingredients. Plus, it’s made of food-grade plastic, which means it’s safe to use and easy to clean.
- Material: Plastic
- Length: 8.25 in
Factors to consider before buying a muddler:
Material: Muddlers come in a variety of finishes; wood, plastic and stainless steel are the usual suspects. The latter two are non-absorbent, which means they won’t soak up flavors and smells. They’re also extremely easy to clean. A note about plastic: You want to make sure that it’s food grade, the same material used for cutting boards. This ensures that any bits won’t make their way into your cocktail. As for wood, acacia is the most common; there are also great options made of walnut and bamboo. All of them are dense, enabling you to crush ice and larger ingredients with ease. The one caveat is that wood is a natural substance, so they’re harder to clean and will deteriorate over time.
Size: The standard length of most muddlers is between eight inches and 10 inches. Rule of thumb is that longer is better. Unless you have a short glass, you’re going to want one that’ll reach to the bottom of your glass, tumbler or shaker and still hold comfortably.
Design: As you see from the list above, muddlers come in all shapes. Most, however, taper from top two bottom, almost like a club. This kind of shape will allow you to swivel your muddler and really pound the ingredients in a glass. Lately, brands have been offering models with ergonomic handles, ones that are much more curved, which could alleviate strain to your hands and wrists.