Cocktailing 101: How To Muddle Fruit Like A Pro

Muddle Fruit

Photo by Flickr user Didriks

Muddling brings out the soft and tender elements of fruit and vegetables by crushing the firmer flesh and revealing the sweet and aromatic inner flavors. Muddling is the hidden secret to blending together flavors without pureeing them, changing their texture. A mint julep is the perfect example of muddling, in this case mint with raw sugar to bring out the flavors instead of pulverizing them.

 I like to use wood for my muddling, but high volume bartenders will use a plastic one or one made of stainless steel. Wood is just too difficult to clean on the fly and it cannot be sterilized in the commercial chemicals without deteriorating. You can muddle roasted fruits with syrups and fragile herbs before adding liquor and soda water.  That’s what makes for a wonderfully ‘muddled’ cocktail — you’d muddle for only a few presses so you don’t turn the herbs to chlorophyll, making them unpalatable and ruining your cocktail.

A SIMPLE TYROL FIZZ

A SIMPLE TYROL FIZZ

by Warren Bobrow

Ingredients:
50ml Stroh Rum
100 ml broiled grapefruit juice (grapefruit and Angostura Bitters-broiled until caramelized, cooled then juiced)
25 ml Demerara Sugar Simple Syrup
25 ml Seltzer water
5-6 drops Angostura Bitters

Preparation:
To a Boston Shaker filled 3/4 with ice add the Stroh Rum
Add the broiled grapefruit juice
Add the Demerara Sugar Simple Syrup
Cap and shake hard for 20 seconds
Strain into 2 coupe glasses
top with a splash of seltzer and dot with Angostura Bitters

Cheers!

The Peerless Temperament Of Martin Miller’s Gin

was first introduced to Martin Miller’s Gin by the founder himself. 

The cocktail in my hand that night was known as a Jimi Cocktail.  Named for the iconoclast himself, Jimi Hendrix, who’s music pulsed and grooved around the boite- a gorgeous mid 1800’s era Federalist-style mansion on the periphery of Greenwich Village.  The well-appointed bar-room was very private, its lights held down low.  This was the genre of a clearly- only in Manhattan experience- one from another era.

Mr. Martin Miller was introducing his gin to the guests- but he was not working the room, as much as he was holding court.  There were hand-crafted cocktails being assembled on a tiny zinc bar- set just off to the side. 

Fresh lime, crisp mint, a touch of Demerara Sugar- Martin Miller’s Westbourne Gin in a glass, simultaneously tempered by what seemed like plenty of ice, stirred, strained, poured, supped.  But alas after several of these tiny mind pleasers- the overproof gin (in this case the Westbourne) made staying cognizant extremely difficult.

Martin Miller’s Gin

The music was swirling, the tiny drink, highly intoxicating and Martin Miller’s ebullient laugh burnt deeply into my memory. There are occasions in life to drink in and this was one that overflowed with each belly laugh to this very day.   

Excellent gin such as Martin Miller’s Gin has a peerless temperament.  There is an absolute plethora of gin on the market, each promising much, and not accomplishing it.  Not all of these versions of gin are successful and more come out every day.  It can be very confusing to the consumer who may not ‘get it’…

The key here is to train your staff and taste as many different kinds of gin as you can, (and still stand) and remember their idiosyncrasies and their successes.  Gin is HOT.  The list can be very short, if you know what you’re selling.  Your descriptions should resonate like when you suggest Martin Miller’s Gin. Always with a smile!

Gin is jam-packed with flavor.  With it comes taste, and each taste should unlock a specific memory- or nostalgia of the first time you tasted it.  As I will always remember the gin that my father drank, it was in a green bottle.  To this day, every time I see the distinctive shape- I can taste it on my tongue.  As I know that even a tiny sip of gin of this will unlock memories. 

They say history to me. 

Martin Miller’s Gin does the same thing when I sip it.  Each distinctive expression tells a story in aromatics.  Not every gin has that honor.  Utilizing quality ingredients in distillation is the determinate for me.  Full disclosure: I’m probably too hung up on authenticity and ‘hand crafted.’ If you like to know, Martin Miller’s Gin is distilled in England and blended in Iceland- using the best water in the world. Yes, their blending water is from Iceland!  Of course I’d know about Icelandic water because over the years I’ve tasted water from many different places.  I’ve tasted Icelandic water at the Fancy Food Show, it made a lasting impression on me. 

The Icelandic water has a purity that comes from rock and fire.  Their land is in constant change; the water bubbles up from deep within the surface of the earth: dancing into the air like a pillowcase full of kittens! 

Martin Miller’s Gin tastes like the terroir of the place.  Each sip has the stuffing of classical distilling, in a copper pot still… In England.  There is serious fun in each sip, with a history to boot. 

The Copper Pot Still.  Why is this important?  For Martin Miller’s Gin, their two very distinct gin recipes are forged together in an ancient copper pot still, hand built at the turn of the 20th Century.  To give a correlation to your education, Rum, Gin and Whisky(e) are often produced in these very primitive pot stills.  This vessel is sometimes fire heated, although the combination of fire and alcohol often have frightening results, so I’m sure that their heating process is perfectly safe.  The unique flavor of the “pot still” imparts a warmer and richer tasting spirit.  The flavor is plush and opulent across the tongue.  Tinges of cucumber and freshly cut grass predominate their ‘traditional’ example that rolls in at 40% ABV. 

The Westbourne to me is Christmas in a glass with red fruits, ground pipe tobacco, lemon curd and freshly slashed hay in each elegant sip.   

I’m thrilled by a Bee’s Knees made with the Westbourne Strength Gin. This lovely Prohibition era cocktail is comprised of Raw Honey simple syrup, Martin Miller’s Gin (Westbourne) and freshly squeezed lemon juice.  The Bee’s knees should be a go/to for any cocktail enthusiast. 

For the Traditional bottling, I think of a take on the Jimi Cocktail, made with muddled cucumber, fresh lime juice, simple syrup and a splash of seltzer water the flourish of spicy, slapped mint.  Simplicity is the word of the day. The Westbourne rolls in at just over 45% ABV. 

Keep it simple.  Keep it fast.  Keep it QUALITY.

One drink in particular I’m enjoying right now is with the Martin Miller’s Westbourne Gin.  This drink screams Olde England and because of the use of Orange Marmalade and Broiled Grapefruit juice- there is a funky quality that just says: Serious English Fun!

This is a take on the classic “Gin and Juice” that you see immediately upon landing in England, should you take the slow boat from New York City.   

Mr. Dew-Smith’s Conundrum (for two)

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz. Martin Miller’s Westbourne Strength Gin
  • ½ oz. Orange Marmalade (homemade is best!)
  • 6 oz. Broiled Grapefruit Juice (recipe below)
  • ¼ oz. fresh lemon juice
  • Dale DeGroff’s Pimento Bitters
  • Gary Regan’s Orange Bitters
  • Prep:
  1. To a Cocktail Mixing Glass with one large cube of ice
  2. Add the Orange Marmalade
  3. Add the Gin
  4. Stir to combine
  5. Add the lemon juice
  6. Stir
  7. Add the 2-3 shakes of each:  Pimento and the Orange
    Bitters
  8. Stir
  9. Add the Broiled juice
  10. Stir, strain and serve into a coupe glass garnished with flamed orange zest

Broiled Grapefruit Juice:

  1. Split Grapefruits, sprinkle with Demerara Sugar (like Sugar in the Raw)
  2. Let sit overnight in fridge
    covered
  3. The next day, preheat your oven to 400 degrees
  4. Sprinkle more Demerara Sugar over the top
  5. Roast for 45 minutes to an hour
  6. Let cool
  7. Juice
  8. Use in your Martin Miller’s Gin cocktails.