As annoying as it may be for bartenders -- it takes precious time away from serving other customers -- muddling fresh fruit and herbs makes a huge difference in cocktails.
From traditional mojitos to ubiquitous new specialties like cucumber basil martinis, freshly pressed ingredients are available all over the place these days, and frankly, we think it's fantastic.
The only problem is the $14-a-pop price tag. A that price, you want to make sure you understand what you're getting into.
To help you on your very own muddling spree, bar manager Brittany Chapman of Grille 401 gave us a couple of recipes for a couple of the bar's signature drinks, the Red Cougar with vodka, strawberry, and basil and the açaí mojito, a spin on the classic Cuban concoction.
Muddle five fresh strawberries
One ounce simple syrup
Half ounce fresh lemon juice
Two ounces Stolichnaya Vodka
One basil leaf
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail mixer with ice and shake vigorously. Strain and pour into a martini glass and top with a splash of soda. Garnish with a basil leaf and a fresh strawberry.
For a perfectly chilled martini, add ice and water to the martini glass while you're making the drink. Toss the mixture away when you're ready to pour the cocktail into the glass.