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Need to up your cocktail game? Here’s how to muddle mint to use in all your favorite cocktail recipes: the Mojito, Whiskey Smash, and more!

how to muddle mint
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Making a cocktail and it calls for muddling? Muddling is a technique used in drinks to gently mash herbs or fruit to release their juices. This helps the flavors to bind with the alcohol better than simply using them whole. Muddling is used in many popular cocktails, like the Mojito and Whiskey Smash. As you might expect, there’s a bit of technique involved in muddling: you don’t want to mash your herbs to a pulp! Here’s how to muddle mint: you can also use this technique for other herbs like basil or fruit like lime and lemon.

Here’s how to muddle mint!

How to muddle mint

How to Muddle Mint

Active Time: 1 minute
Total Time: 1 minute
Difficulty: Easy

Need to up your cocktail game? Here's how to muddle mint to use in all your favorite cocktail recipes: the Mojito, Whiskey Smash, and more!


  • Fresh mint leaves (or other herbs: basil, rosemary, and so forth)


  • Cocktail muddler
  • Cocktail shaker


  1. The right way to muddle mint: Place the mint leaves in the bottom of a cocktail shaker or large metal cup or bowl. Using a wooden cocktail muddler or unfinished wooden spoon, gently mash the mint 3 to 4 times to release the juices. It should look like this. The right way to muddle
  2. The wrong way to muddle mint: Do not mash the mint to a pulp! Here's an example of what it should not look like: The wrong way to muddle mint

Tools required for muddling

Here are the cocktail tools that are used for muddling. We make a lot of cocktail recipes, so we decided to invest in the professional grade! If you prefer, you can muddle without a muddler — see the section below.

  • Cocktail Shaker: A cocktail shaker quickly chills cocktails by shaking them against ice, then has a strainer so you can pour out the cocktail without pouring out the ice as well. It’s easiest to muddle mint in a cocktail shaker because it’s durable and you can then make the drink right in the shaker.
  • Cocktail Muddler: An unfinished wooden muddler is recommended so that no artificial flavors flake off into your drink.
How to muddle mint

How to muddle without a muddler?

You might be wondering: is there a way to muddle mint without a muddler? (How’s that for a tongue twister?) You absolutely can; here’s what we recommend:

  • What can I use instead of a muddler? Use a wooden spoon to gently mash the berries, lime wedges, and mint leaves.
  • What can I use instead of a cocktail shaker for muddling? If you’re muddling mint, we’d recommend trying it in a large metal cup or bowl: do not muddle in glass for safety reasons. Then if you’re looking to make a drink without a cocktail shaker: use a glass canning jar to put the drink ingredients and ice into, then cover the top and shake! Pour it through a strainer into the serving glass.

Drinks with muddled mint, herbs, and fruit

Now that you know how to muddle mint: let’s get to drinking! Here are our favorite drinks that use muddle mint, herbs or other fruit:

Blackberry bourbon smash
Muddled mint, lime and blackberries makes up this Berry Vodka Smash

Looking for more cocktail recipes?

Here are some more of our favorite cocktail recipes (where muddling is not required!):

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Michael Lindsey says:

    I found your website today and I am so impressed.

  2. Ess P says:

    Hi! What’s the reason for not muddling the mint to a pulp? Does it release too much mint, does it ruin the quality of the flavor it produces?

    1. Sonja Overhiser says:

      Great question! It can break down into little pieces in the drink that can get through the strainer. Thanks for asking!

  3. Lisa LeCoump says:

    Started with the Mojito recipe and ended up on muddling. Really appreciate the detailed information, and especially all the photos. I know how much trouble it is to take lots of process photos, but they make a big difference.

  4. Fred Mertz says:

    So anything about actual technique or approximate number of times you press the mint? A few times doesn’t really say much when it states 1 min to actually to do at the very beginning of the article. A few times would mean two seconds. More info would be helpful.

    1. Sonja Overhiser says:

      We clarified to say 3 to 4 times! Thanks for the comment!