Thursday, December 19, 2013

Product Review: The Arctic Chill Muddler

Welcome to the first in a new recurring segment of reviews and demos of beverage related items.  This inaugural episode will feature the Arctic Chill Cocktail Muddler and what we think of it.  You will see it in action, you will see it in other things, ...many things.  You will see it in all the 2 dimensional glory that a jpeg can provide the round things in your head used for seeing.

When we were approached by Rizzi of Arctic Chill to take a look at this product, we were happy for the chance to check it out, but skeptical of a stainless steel muddler.  We like tradition and our wooden one had plenty of miles on it.  But in taking a closer look we were surprised at how the Arctic Chill one held up and by the things it could do that we would never try with our old one, like working with ingredients that have a lot of oils in them.

It is available from if you click here.  Also, you can see the other product Arctic Chill has to offer at their own website, They got those neat-o ice trays that let you make totally round ice cubes.

In-between our review photos, we'll be posting important notes so make sure you don't miss anything.  

Muddlers are most often use in preparing beverages and on a number of different types of things, and we will be showing you its performance on at least one thing in the 4 main categories of things that get muddled:  
Citrus: Examples include lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruits. 
Leafy: Examples include mint, basil, cilantro, and rosemary.
Fleshy: Examples include strawberries, watermelon, tomato, and grapes.
Other:'ll see.

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Want to see our old one in action?  Here are a few drinks we've made with it:

Mint Julep
Moonshine Mojito
Sriracha Lemonade

You may notice that these are all leafy examples, and we often use a blender when dealing with citrus.  But for single servings, sometimes a blender is overkill, so we'll be doing citrus with this in that sense.

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The Arctic Chill muddler is round.  It gets a little roll-happy, so guess what happened right after we took this picture.  But, that's not a big deal because we store it on this magnetic holder in a vertical position.  Just imagine the black end pointing down (rotated 90 degrees to the right basically).  When stored like that, it's very secure and doesn't move.

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Seriously, think about it;  You're doing something with this thing, and you have it slip out of your hands (these things happen).  So now it's either a plastic headed tool heading towards the counter, or a dense metal tipped missile careening through your glass and then smashing into your foot.  ...yeah.

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Our wooden muddler was well used, but it was starting to pick up some funk, and there's really nothing you can do about that which doesn't damage the wood further like boiling it or soaking it in alcohol (which would dry the hell out of it).

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And jam we did.  We did notice that, if laid on its side, the Arctic Chill muddler will roll right the fuck away with the slightest provocation.  Avoiding this by keeping the muddler standing up on its flat end raises the center of gravity to the point where at the slightest provocation it will fall down and then roll away.  This can be avoided by keeping it in a container or using magnetic holders.

The rolling is actually more of an issue if you're doing what we're doing, which is trying to take lots of photos of it.  If you're using it for its actual purpose, it's not as much of an issue. 


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That scraping action from the grooves in the head of it really makes a difference.  As you twist, they scrape over the skins of the fruits, and pull off small bits of zest and release the oils that are always where the strongest flavor comes from.  It's almost impossible for a rounded muddler of any material to do that without using coarse additives like sugar or salt, but let's say you don't want a lot of that or you only have fine sugar or salt around and it's not coarse enough to get the job done.  Even our flat-headed wooden muddler was only able to take zest off because of it's rough irregular surface.  Seeing as how that rough irregular surface is actually the result of little bits of wood coming off after repeated uses, that's not really a good thing.

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Derpy Hooves glass can be found all over Etsy.

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Putting this muddler out on a table with an assortment of chopped fruits and your bucket of cheap hipster beers, will let your friends make their own shandy creations, and will really class up any get-together you have.


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That's chocolate mint.  Apparently that's a thing.

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We were worried about this.  The teeth that were so good at citrus smashing simply turned the flat leaves around and around in a circle.  The addition of sugar in the raw did nothing to fix this.

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Using the other end was a different story.  Its rounded shape worked extremely well and it wasn't hard to hold it from the other end.  It may or may not be intentional in the design, but either way, it worked. 

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Our watermelon margarita was a big hit, but it made almost a gallon of punch and required "il passatutto" which can be annoying to clean.  So what if you just want just one for yourself?  Let's see if we can do that.

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Fleshy ingredients usually have seeds and other things in them that you might not want to leave floating around in there.  For something like a strawberry that's not a big deal, but if you end up doing this with a pomegranate, you might want to have the strainer handy.

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Our original Bloody Derby did not involve muddling, but our new one coming out will have a special theme, and a mashed up habanero will be an option we will be including.

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These peppers are not for the timid.  Even the booze you soak it in is going to end up tasting like fire after only 10 minutes.

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We got that swag from our local retailer when Alibi was first released and we bought some.  It's good. 


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This involves garlic that is very soft from being boiled.  We have not and probably will not ever attempt to use this on raw garlic.

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Could you imagine muddling something with oil and butter with an old wooden muddler?  You'd be pretty screwed.  Not only would that oil get absorbed quite a bit, but after 2 days it would start smelling pretty nasty. (You ever had butter or olive oil go bad?  It happens, and it's gross).  Also, since high temps won't harm it by drying it out, you can remove sugary or other gloppy residues with hot water and just watch it dissolve away.

Being stainless steel, the Arctic Chill muddler can perform another important function regarding garlic.  You ever get that garlic smell on their hands that won't come off?  Well rub that handle along your hands under running water, and bang: no more garlic smell.

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Cm'on, you knew we weren't gonna let that joke escape.

It occurred to us that an Achilles heel of this, might be the point where the nylon head attaches to the handle.  We pulled on it and poked at it and it was very secure.  We let it sit in soapy water for 48 hours, to test if any water leaked into the inside of the handle through that part.  No water leaked inside.  We do not know if it is considered "dishwasher safe" but who puts a muddler in a dish washer?

So all in all, the Arctic Chill muddler has serious advantages to it, and you look cool while you use it.  It's not any more slippery than any other muddler, and neither you or your drinks will get any micro-splinters from it (you know the kind we mean). The biggest drawback was in fact, the rolling we encountered, but that's not a big enough issue for us not to recommend getting one. 

You can got to and pick one up for you and as a stocking stuffer for that "cool uncle" you have.  Or if you are that "cool uncle" (you know who you are) give these to those college kids when they're over for the holidays.  It's amazon, use your Amex points or frequent flyer miles even (that's a thing right?).

We did not feature the actual unboxing because... why would it matter.  Here's all you need to know: It comes in a box.  The box opens easily, but the box shouldn't be used for muddling.  You can see it at Arctic Chill's own website here.

Our thanks go out to Rizzi and the rest of the team at Arctic Chill for giving us the opportunity to muddle the hell out of many things. 

You will see this muddler again in our upcoming Applejack-Off major event, when we use it to make our unique "Apples & Oranges" cocktail.

See you there.   

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