The Saveur Holiday Gift Guide 2014
This holiday season, we asked our editors and contributors to share what's at the top of their wish lists. They came back to us with a score of edible treats, longed-for kitchen appliances, beloved cooking tools, and favorite spirits—any of which make perfect gifts for the food, drink, and travel lovers in your life.....
My muddlers are made to last a long time - including looking great. That's why I use wood that is exceptionally hard and dense. It is also why I apply the distinctive oil finish to each muddler. Shellac type finishes crack and break off while the oil penetrates and even hardens the wood cells with a food safe coating. But even with the care I use the muddlers can have some of the gloss finish "banged-up" from the kind of use professional mixologists put them through.
My son, Todd Appel, is such a professional and came to visit a couple weeks ago bringing his cocktail equipment for drinks on the lake in the North Woods of Wisconsin. He had a couple of my muddlers with him, While the wood was like new, the working end of the muddler had lost its glossy finish. My recommendation in the past was to apply a food grade lemon oil to the muddler when ever this happens. That still works well. But, I applied a thin coat of the original oil to the muddler - left it sit for an hour - and then wiped it off with soft paper towel. You could not tell it from new. And, after a couple days for the oil to set-up completely it was ready for hard use once again.
I was so pleased that I make this offer to all those who buy one of my muddlers - in the past or now - that I will send a small bottle of my oil to anyone who e-mails a picture of the muddler that I have made. I plan to do this initially at no cost to you. If it gets too much for me I will continue to send the oil but charge a small fee.
I really am proud of my muddlers and hope to keep them in top shape for years more.
Here's a peek at one of the Wirtz branded muddlers crafted for Wirtz Beverage Illinois. Limited edition, 30 made - it was an honor to work with the Wirtz team!
I am concerned about the environmental impact of the wood I use for muddlers. I have spent many hours searching the internet to be sure none of the wood for my muddlers were endangered. But, that's an almost fruitless job. What I finally did was to select a wood supplier who had the same views and exclusively use them. That supplier is Bell Forest Products - a small wood supplier about 40 minutes north of me in the Upper Peninsular of Michigan.
Here's the policy statement I am relying upon:
"We at Bell Forest Products work closely with our suppliers to ensure that Responsible Forestry Practices are being followed. Our log and lumber suppliers actively combat illegal logging, and have policies in place regarding planned felling, minimum tree diameter, and felling rotation to ensure regrowth."
Beautiful wood from across the world is being used for all sorts of purposes. I support the suppliers who are working to replenish the forests and in turn, help local economies.
- Gary Appel
Think I am kidding about unending winter? Here’s 4 I was able to sneak in – the latest ever recorded date before a 50 degree day was April 9. – it is now April 20 without one and none in the near future.
The wood from left to right is Bocote, Bloodwood, Bocote again and Cumaru.
Spring is coming to the north woods. Got up to 28 degrees today. Can't wait to start muddlers. Thanks for waiting
New batch of hardwood muddlers. Having fun with it so can't complain. New muddlers are longer and thicker. They are truly beautiful.
This muddler is made of a wood called Bocote. As with all the wood I use it is hard (more than hard maple) and dense so it feels like it can get the job done. It is also beautiful. I have made 6 in this limited edition. This style I call spindrift reminding me of my sailing days.