Don't Skip This Step When Muddling Citrus Fruit For Your Summer Cocktails

assorted fruit cocktails
assorted fruit cocktails - Tatjana Baibakova/Shutterstock

Nothing says summer like a bright, sweet, tart citrus cocktail. Whether alcohol is invited to the party or not, a drink as vibrant in flavor as it is in color really elevates the season. Of course, the best citrus-centric cocktail demands maximum citrus flavor. There are tons of irresistible recipes for citrus cocktails, from sea breezes to mojitos. One of the most common ways to actually get the flavors of different citrus fruits into those beverages is to muddle, breaking up the fruits to release the juices. There are a few ways to really up your muddling game, too, to get the most citrus flavor out of your fruits, like making sure you're using the right muddler. In addition, you can prep your fruit for extra efficient muddling with a key step.

To take your muddled fruit from flavorful to flavor-bursting, roll the fruit on a cutting board first, with the palm of your hand. This really loosens up the fruit, so that when the muddler hits it, you get the most delicious juice possible. You'll also slice the fruit after that roll but before the muddle. By chopping some wedges -- and no need to worry about precise sizes or symmetry -- you're exposing as much of the fruit as you can to the muddler. Firm twists of a textured muddler will hit those wedges with their juices already flowing from that cutting-board roll and will give you plenty of fresh, tasty citrus juice for your cocktail.

Read more: The 40 Absolute Best Cocktails That Feature Only 2 Ingredients

Other Muddling Tips To Remember Once You've Rolled Your Fruit

Woman holding mojito
Woman holding mojito - SandyHappy/Shutterstock

Muddling is a super quick and easy step in making cocktails, approachable for even the beginner home bartender. But there are a few crucial things to remember. Muddling that's both safe and effective requires you to right a few common muddling wrongs. For example, make sure you're using a sturdy glass or metal shaker tin so nothing breaks. Use a long enough muddler so you're not grinding your knuckles on the top of the glass or tin. Plus, your muddling motion should be a twist and not a pound. Pounding, as well as over-muddling, can actually pulverize the flavors right out of ingredients like mint leaves, and when it comes to fruits, you can end up with too much juice, which will drown out the rest of the cocktail. With a twisting motion, you're releasing the perfect amount of fresh juice with each squeeze. Once you don't see plenty of juice flowing, the fruit has officially been tapped and you can stop muddling.

By rolling your citrus fruits before even picking up the muddler, your cocktail-elevating juices are ready to go. With a quick chop and a toss into a good glass or tin, your fruit is primed for a few twists of a textured muddler, and then it's all set to instantly brighten your drink. Once you've mastered these steps, you can move on to more innovative twists, like charring pineapple before muddling in order to make a smoky paloma.

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