You don't need to buy a cocktail muddler to make smashing good drinks. Chances are, you have a tool that can crush herbs already on hand. Three to try: the handle of a wooden spoon or spatula (the fatter the better), the handle of an ice cream scoop or the flat end of a tapered rolling pin. Now that you've got the gear, here's how to use it (like in our brand new Cucumber-Basil Smash!):
1. Place the ingredients you want to muddle (usually fresh herbs and sugar) in the bottom of a pint glass, shaker or sturdy pitcher (for big batches).
2. Using the muddler, press down on the mixture in the bottom of the glass and gently twist. Stop as soon as the herbs release their aromatic oils. (You'll smell 'em!) And go easy with the squishing! The idea is to release the fragrance of the herbs without ripping the leaves, which can unleash bitter chlorophyll into your cocktail.
Here are some more cocktail ideas for you to muddle up!