spring 2019 bar menu + recipes
How to Crush “Muddling”
by Lindsey Jaworek-Dinneen our Bar Manager at Rail Trail Flatbread Co.
As Spring approaches and we start seeing more citrus and herbs available, we wanted to discuss the technique of muddling for drinks. Although it is a classic technique for some of our favorite refreshing and herbaceous cocktails, think Mojito & Caipirinha, it’s also a useful tip for when you just want to add a little more to that flat or carbonated water we are required to chug throughout the day. The purpose of this technique is to extract the flavors of herbs and citrus. It can also be used to blend flavors, such as citrus and sugar, herb and citrus, and so on...
Most of us get the basics of muddling - have colorful ingredients, throw in glass, squash with stick, maybe release some frustrations in the process, dump ice and liquid on top, stab and stir with straw, look at beauty, pat oneself on back, sip away… or something like that.
We’re getting so much better than that now at our home bars though, aren’t we?! We’ve put all this work into having the perfect collection of tools, glassware, base spirits, bitters, syrups… let’s put them to use, correctly! And yes, I’m also talking about those hand me down tools you found in your grandmother’s utensil drawer, or the mismatched glassware that has moved from apartment to apartment with you and still includes your favorite glass for each kind of beverage. This is all the best part of having an “at home bar” - it’s yours!
OK. Let’s start with the Muddler itself. There are only a million or so variations so don’t worry about the actual style. It can be as simple as the handle of a wooden spoon for all intents and purposes! Muddlers can be stainless steel, rubber, or most commonly, unfinished wood. We want to make sure that the muddler sticks far enough out of the top of the glass so that we are able to have a good grip on it with our muddling hand. Some muddlers have a blunt end as well as a toothed end, but really anything is possible with the blunt end so as long as you have that, we’re going to be in the business of muddling!
Now for the pretty stuff! Let’s look at those fresh herbs as we pluck the leaves off of the stems and drop them into our glass. For our house mojito, we use 8 mint leaves, just to give you a reference point.
We’ll always use the blunt end of the muddler for herbs, because we don’t want to tear the leaves. This will cause a bitterness or chlorophyll forward flavor that we want to keep out of our drinks. We’re just going to gently press and twist on the herbs until we start to smell the flavors present in the herbs. We’re essentially releasing the essential oils from the herbs.. See what I did there!? Typically it takes about 3 muddles for this to happen!
For citrus, there are two reasons that we muddle. The first is to extract juice from the fruit, the second is to release oils from the skins. The toothed end of the muddler works better for this process, if you have one, if not, a few more turns might be necessary before you really get to smell the oils from the citrus. The toothed end is also helpful for some of your tougher herbs, like rosemary, or vegetable skins like cucumber.
When we talk about blending flavors, granulated sugar can be muddled with citrus, but not with herbs because it will cause the leaves to tear. If you want to muddle herbs with granulated sugar, just add a splash of water to melt the sugar. You can also muddle citrus with fruit. Bringing it back to our mojito, we muddle two lime wedges with the 8 mint leaves to blend the flavors together! This process can be totally creative, blending citrus with herbs, syrups with herbs or citrus, citrus with bitters, etc. Have some fun with flavors here!
We find the best practice is to always mix your drink in the glass you muddled in so that you are able to capture as much of the flavor as possible! Now, let’s go over this again with what we’ve learned. Pluck leaves from stems and/or cut citrus into wedges, put in glass, softly press and twist with muddler - careful not to tear leaves, add ice and liquid into glass, stir with straw, marvel at beauty, pat oneself on back, sip away…. Now we’ve got it!
creating the new rail trail flatbread co. cocktail
good ol’ haze
created by Luis Zermano bartender at rail trail flatbread co.
Luis Zermano on Creating Good Ol' Haze
I wanted to create something easy drinking with Pisco. My Mother's side of the family is from Chile, and my Father's is from Mexico. So, I felt like I really wanted to include Tequila as well. I was looking for a juicy beverage, with a bounty of different flavors, something to accompany our signature Flatbreads or our to balance out our meaty, crispy ribs. I made a few attempts at this cocktail and they were just a bit to sweet. That is when I decided to add Anejo tequila which gave it a really smooth sip. It was a hoot making the Good Ol' Haze. Hope all enjoy it as much as I do.
photo of the drink
Good Ol' Haze: Capel Pisco, Casa Noble Anejo, Gran Gala, Passion Fruit, Orange, Lime
spring drink menu
check out what is new…
Light & Refreshing
Bouje Mimosa- Hangar Rose Vodka, Champagne, Pere Magliore Calvados, lemon - $10
Green Monster - Gin Amare, St Elder, peach bitters, basil, falernum, lemon - $11
Good Ol’ Haze - Casa Noble Anejo, Gran Gala, Capel Pisco, passion fruit, orange, lime - $10
Camellia - Ford’s Gin, Campari, Herbal Tea, Lavender Bitters - $10
These Violet Delights - Mi Campo Blanco Tequila, St. Elder, Giffard Creme de Violette - $10