Bar Tools - VIVA! Stick Muddler MK II
Item: VIVA! Stick Muddler MK II
ITEM TYPE: Muddler (Fruit Muddler, Bar Muddler, as you like)
MAKER: Shawn Soole
COST: $11.99 US (Plus Shipping)
Overview: Viva la Liquid Revolution! Deux! This is a review of the redesigned/perfected Viva! Stick Muddler. The original is reviewed here and is still available in limited quantities in some places for those who prefer a smaller, at least narrower, muddler. This large plastic muddler has the same star patterned ridged bottom. Designed as the low cost alternative to fancier wooden muddlers and to be better than those short plastic pestle type sticks that barely stick out from the top of a glass.
The basic idea behind this is the difference between traditional wood and plastic, much like cutting boards - yes, I love wood muddlers such as the PUG and TAG, like my wooden cutting boards, but I'll sacrifice tradition for speed and ease of use when I want to get drinks done fast and not worry about cleaning up as much later.
Much as I enjoy I nicely crafted wood muddler, you must use oil to maintain integrity, clean it carefully, and watch what you use it for; with plastic, it may not be as sexy, but it works with anything and easier to clean.
Another point for this muddler is its price and the attendant fact that if you are working at a bar it is much less likely to get stolen than your prized wood muddler. Cost is 1/2 to 1/3 the price of a good wood muddler.
Appearance: Looks like a kitchen implement brush handle, or a police flashlight at first glance. In contrast to the older thinner Mk I it is black and has a more svelte, easier to grip, handle. Top of muddler has good sized grip, angled for ease of grip, bearing down, and twisting
First Impression: Longer (almost 12 inches) and larger (2 inches across bottom, business end) than most muddlers makes it a joy to use - a lot more leverage and coverage, and easy to keep track of rather than some small stick that disappears in the clutter or mixing glass . 2inch wide star pattern bottom makes for an aggressive macerating, muddling, and grinding surface. While same length and bottom width as the older model,the new model has a improved wider grip - much better feel to it and an improvement over a already outstanding design.
Testing: Work well on a variety of drinks, larger end/grinding surface make it simple to thoroughly muddle ingredients and still maintain control of a glass. Some of the smaller ones can go sideways and send a glass shooting off onto the floor. Plastic muddling/grinding end doesn't chip or break glass like some of the metal ones can. Also not being metal they will not react with anything in a drink, corrode or leave bits of metal or plating in a drink. Unlike a number of higher end muddlers, this one can be put in a dishwasher and requires zero maintenance beyond that.
Final Thoughts: A decently made piece barware, good size and cheap. A serious workmanlike bar tool that would be a great addition to any bar home or professional as it is well made, works well,easy to clean and maintain and hard to break, all important points for consideration. Another point is being nonabsorbent plastic you can muddle/mix/grind virtually any ingredient with it and not worry about carryover or contamination so it's great when you are fooling around with exotic spices or other ingredients that could be a problem later for a wood muddler. While I thought the original model was really outstanding somehow Shawn managed to improve on it and bring it much closer to something that could be called perfection.