A couple of weeks ago the good folks at Arctic Chill sent me one of their new products, the stainless steel muddler to review on this humble blog. As any cocktailian knows, the muddler is an indispensible tool to making cocktails. And, as any mixology minded person would tell you, not all muddlers are created equal.
Sure, you can use any commercial muddler out their and make a cocktail with it, however, there is something to be said for what constitutes a quality made product versus a cheap fix that will get the job done. Most serious bartenders and enthusiasts will tend to lean towards the classic wooden lacquer models as they are usually high quality made, and are ergonomically designed for weight and grip for comfortable handling. This time we will be looking at a more modern style muddler that aims to be both cost-effective and high quality, according to the manufacturer.
Arctic Chill’s muddler utilizes a stainless steel grip with a grooved nylon head. At first glance it appears to be ergonomically sound and attractive. The weight was actually well-balanced while handling and didn’t feel as light or clunky as other similar products on the market. The nylon head seemed solidly attached to the handle and free of any flaws or damage. So far so good. I quickly went to the classics for muddling, Mojito, Caipirinha, Mint Julep, and the jagged head was actually great for extracting juice from stubborn cut up fruit. It felt both weighted and balanced for the motion and coaxed a perfect amount of juice from any fruit segments I used. I also attempted the harder fruits such as pear and apple and found the head was perfect for really mashing the fruit to a nice consistency and releasing the natural juice.
The real test would come from delicate herbs such as mint, tarragon and basil. After a few experiments with some Juleps and Smashes, this is where it really comes down to a matter of preference. For those of you like myself that really look to “release” the essential oils from herbs, especially mint, you may find it “rips” your delicate herbs a bit more than you’d like. If you usually fine strain your muddled ingredients this may not be much of an issue, but for those who don’t like tons of small flecks of herbs in their cocktails this may be a bit of an annoyance. It really comes down to preferences as some bartenders and folks like to pummel their mint versus lightly bruising them. I suppose to each their own.
Finally, I recommend hand washing your muddler, whether it’s stainless steel or not, as the dishwasher can be a bit harsh on booth nylon and wood over time.
All in all, this is a solidly made product that if taken care of properly, will last you quite a bit of time and does a fine job. While I’m still a bit fond of my lacquer wood in the bar, any home cocktail crafter should look to picking up one of these as it won’t set you back more than $14 bucks and is very quality made for the modest price point. For more information or to pick one up head to their website and Amazon. Cheers.
Product Name: Muddler
Brand: Arctic Chill
Material: Stainless steel grip with a nylon head