Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Raspberry-Thyme Smash -or- The Case of the Curiously Oversized Muddler


For well over a year I’ve been ripping drink recipes out of magazines and collecting them in an overstuffed 3-ring binder. This must indicate I’m an optimist at heart, because at this point I’ve got way more recipes stashed than I’ll likely ever get around to making. But occasionally I pull one out, round up the requisite ingredients, and have at it.

Like a lucky game show contestant being yanked from the audience, the Raspberry-Thyme Smash was plucked out of the pile and put through its paces. It was featured in the July ‘08 issue of Bon Appetit, and looked like a promising candidate for both a great Summer beverage and a way to convince myself I’m pursuing a healthy lifestyle (It contains fruit).

Raspberry-Thyme Smash

2 fresh thyme sprigs, divided
7 fresh raspberries, divided
2 1/4 oz. gin (Hendrick's is suggested)
1 oz. simple syrup
1 oz. fresh lime juice

Remove leaves from 1 thyme sprig. Place leaves in cocktail shaker with 6 raspberries and muddle. Fill shaker with ice and add gin, simple syrup, and lime juice. Shake vigorously and strain into ice-filled highball glass. granish with raspberry threaded onto thyme sprig.

Served at the BLT Market in New York

What I didn’t realize was that this drink had a secret ingredient: A giant muddler. Actually, I should state up front that I’m pretty certain what I have is not a muddler. I speculate that it is probably some kind of antique potato masher, but it pretty much resembles a muddler (assuming your bartender is a Norse god).

This gargantuan item, like much of my barware, came courtesy of my father who ran across it at a flea market. Upon presenting me with it, he claimed that neither he nor the seller knew what it was, but since it looked vaguely like a muddler (albeit of outsized proportions), he decided to pick it up for me.

Basically, it’s a 15-inch long cylinder of hardwood that flares at one end to a diameter of almost 2 inches. It weighs approximately a pound, and is completely devoid of any decoration or inscription that would give a clue as to its origins or purpose. Ever see those belaying pins that pirates are always clobbering each other with in the movies? It’s kinda like that.

But the important thing is that it muddles. It really freakin’ muddles. But it’s not so big that it doesn’t have room to maneuver in my mixing tin, and it’s considerable length keeps me from banging my knuckles against the rim. There’s also enough handle available to grip it in a variety of ways, so as far as I’m concerned, this thing is my new muddler.

But every time I pick it up* I feel compelled to bellow a plea to some pagan spirit and tear my shirt off (I make all drinks in the privacy of my own home, so mercifully no one will have to witness this awful spectacle).

So I take it as some sort of cosmic coincidence that the Muddler of the Gods™ showed up right around the time I found the Raspberry-Thyme Smash. The drink is wonderful, and everything a refreshing Summertime sipper should be. It is supremely balanced, and flavor-wise all the ingredients meld perfectly. So get some fresh raspberries while they’re still in season and try this one out!

And remember- when muddling, use your legs, not your back. And have a friend help you if necessary.

*something I was initially unable to do, until I began a rigorous weight-training regimen.


Anonymous said...

I loved this one so much last weekend that I tried to pick up needed ingredients when I went to Trader Joe's this afternoon...but of couse, they had NO THYME (there's a pun to be made there). I am always thwarted. But I guess I will make a variation with mint instead and see how that goes!

Kaiser Penguin said...


Your posts continue to delight. I will definitely snag some raspberries to try this out. I was just recently at one of my good friend's parent's farms cooking up a feast for a party. Caipirinhas were requested and I went in search of a muddler.

I forget exactly how I requested the muddler, but apparently I asked for a weapon rack filled with staffs, cudgels, and other harmful blunt objects. When I opened the suggested drawer I immediately felt like a hooded thief, ready to sap any nearby noble in order to steal a velvet money pouch. All manner of large, blunt wooden objects greeted me. I chose a fluted one and went to work, gleeful to use my giant-sized muddler.

Dood said...

Now I feel that my muddler is somehow small and impotent...

Dr. Bamboo said...

Chasa- Now that some kind soul brought you some thyme, let me know if you also need an enormous muddler.

Rick- Glad you're still enjoying my half-baked ramblings. And it's nice to se I'm not the only one muddling with items that aren't actually muddlers ;-)

Dood- It's not about's about technique!

Roralee said...

I quite enjoyed the Raspberry Thyme Smash you made me on the 4th! Had I known you were using the curiously over-sized muddler, I would've stood in the kitchen to watch you wield such a worthy drinking tool.

I fully intend to replicate this drink. Now to find some of the same gin you used...

Tiare said...

I`m happy to realize i do have a very similar muddler to yours so i`ll have no problem with this drink!

Anonymous said...

from your cartoon, it looks like a wooden plunger for a meat grinder.

Cocktails said...

A good drink, but far from revolutionary, and far from classic. Try making a raspberry syrup and fiddle with that, or check out the classic cobbler with raspberries for some historical connection?