PUG!, Muddler, Chris Gallagher, Custom Wooden Muddlers, Cocktails, Recommendations, Bar Tools, Pick Up Gallagher’s, Pug!, Hand-made, Hand-turned, Lathe, Domestic Hardwood, Cocktail Resources


3) Set Of Jiggers


- a set of jiggers (3) to measure ingredients with



- Avery and Janet Glasser, co-founders of the Bittermens small batch bitters.


Chris Gallagher’s recommendations for cocktail resources and where to eat and drink in the Hudson Valley.


Q & A With Chris Gallagher

Q. How did you decide to make muddlers?

A. I first made prototypes of the muddler during one of the first Cocktails In The Country seminars that Gaz Regan was giving locally. With my background in woodworking and sculptural woodturning in particular, it was natural for me to scrutinize the simple wooden muddlers we were given. This was also an opportunity to exploit the ‘my muddler is larger than yours’ concept during the last half of the seminar. My status was ultimately ceded to Gaz after he commissioned a 22” version of the Pug.

Q. What is it about the design that so many professional bartenders love it?

A. I think most bartenders who like using the Pug are initially attracted to it because of its pleasing shape. Once in hand, it’s apparent that the fit and finish of the tool is exceptional compared to most wooden muddlers on the market. Its length (11.5” / 29 cm) and the fact that the bevel on the top fits well in the palm of the hand while muddling lends an amount of control and ease not found in the average bar muddler.

Q. What are the different woods you use, how do you select the woods, and what is the difference between each wood?

A. The woods I choose for muddlers are predominantly domestic and exotic hardwoods, which I’ve selected for durability and attractiveness. I prefer to use lumber that’s dense and heavy and has some interesting grain or color. The domestics I’ve chosen are hard maple and cherry, which are both closed grained and fairly heavy. The exotic lumber I stock is Jatoba (Brazilian Cherry), which is dense and dark colored and relatively easy to procure in the thickness that I need to produce the Pug. Often, I do limited production runs of other exotics that I feel will make a great muddler.

Tips / Advice

Q. When buying a muddler, what should someone look for - shape, size, style?

A. I think the most important aspect of purchasing a muddler is how it feels when you pick it up. It should feel comfortable in the hand and empowering. Look for a muddler that speaks to you, whether it’s made of plastic or wood or metal, dark colored or light. With so many quality muddlers on the market these days it’s easy to see why bartenders usually own and work with more than one.

Q. What are some essential tips to muddling?

A. An essential tip for muddling is to know your ingredients. Learning just how much pressure to apply while bruising herbs or crushing citrus or pulverizing sugars is key to efficient drink making. Most of the time, less effort is required to muddle your ingredients than you may think.

Q. What are the do’s and don’ts for keeping a muddler in tip-top shape?

A. My recommendations for muddler care are the same as caring for a small child; mild detergent, keep out of the dishwasher and store in a dry location.

Also - an occasional liberal coating of mineral oil will help keep them shiny and new.



Q. What are the key tools that you’d recommend be in every well-equipped home bar?



One-Of-A-Kind Custom Wooden Cocktail Muddlers


Q. What are your go-to resources (store/website) for cocktail related information or tools?

A. My go-to resources for cocktail related information includes a collection of books by the likes of Dale Degroff, Ted Haigh, Ben Reed, David Wondrich and Robert Hess, to name a few. These books not only provide recipes for new and classic cocktails, but also explore the history of cocktails, the bar tending craft, and the people behind the bar.

My favorite websites for recipes and technique are Small Screen Network and CocktailDB.

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Q. If we’re in your local area, where would you send us to eat that’s off the beaten track, but has great food?

A. Eating in the mid-Hudson Valley can be an adventure. My first pick for you would be Il Cena’colo in Newburgh for great Northern Italian food. The online menu is a good first glance, but the weekly specials are extensive, and tasty.

When I have a chance to venture farther north for dinner, Elephant in Kingston, serves excellent tapas.

Also, the Quaker Creek Store in Pine island makes some of the best Polish sausage I’ve tasted; it’s not a table service restaurant, though they serve sandwiches and sausage platters for lunch.

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Q. What’s your drink of choice?

A. It’s difficult to pick a favorite cocktail, but I will say I enjoy the classics. This time of year I tend to be drinking juleps.

My current recipe calls for Demerara cane sugar simple syrup, muddled mint and Kentucky bourbon, usually Evan Williams Black Label or Buffalo Trace bourbon.

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Q. Have you come across any interesting spirits that should be on our radar and what do you like?

A. One of the more interesting projects I’ve been tracking lately is the proposed El Dorado-style tent bar slated to open on the playa at Burning Man 2012. Nicholas Jarret and Brad Farran will try to create a green, zero waste tent bar styled on the famous El Dorado saloon in San Francisco during the Gold Rush. Like the draw of gold in the hills, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a little Brooklyn and a little Philadelphia popping up on the playa nearby, for cocktails in the desert.

Q. Do you have a local place you love to go for cocktails?

A. Among the many bars in the Hudson Valley I have two favorites.

The Stockade Tavern in Kingston, is run by Paul Maloney and Jenny Vis. Their focus is well-crafted cocktails in a space that is inviting and low key. I love the neighborhood bar feel about the place, with the bonus of exceptional drinks and great bar food to go with.

The newly opened Rock and Rye Tavern at The Old Locust Tree Inn of New Paltz is where you’ll find Cassie Fellet (formerly of Stockade and Beso) behind the stick. This recently opened venue has a full kitchen, a cozy bar, an outdoor patio and cocktails made with passion. I love the fact that Cassie highlights Rye whiskey on her cocktail menu. A great place to enjoy a Sazerac!

[See details.]


Details of Chris Gallagher’s recommendations for cocktail resources and where to eat and drink in the Hudson Valley.


1) Boston Shaker


The Boston shaker (1) is a key tool for the home bar; it may be a little more difficult to master than the three part shaker, but ultimately it’s a more effective and neat tool.

2) Hawthorne Strainer


I’d also suggest a Hawthorne strainer (2) that sits in the top of the glass part of the shaker without having to be held there.

4) Julep Strainer


- a julep strainer (4) for martinis and other stirred drinks

5) Citrus Squeezer


- a juicer or citrus squeezer (5) for fresh juices

6) Muddler


- a muddler (6).

Although it’s not a tool, I would recommend a generous source of fresh ice for the home bar - essential for mixing quality drinks at home.

A good home bar should also be equipped with: