There are two routes home cocktail enthusiasts tend to take when choosing a muddler: the mini-baseball style that sits on the check-out counter and the local liquor store (which suck), and then there's the handmade, lathe-turned muddler made from some exotic South American hardwood that can cost you as much as $60 or $80.
Or, you can get the performance of the second for the price of the first.
Bartender and author Jeffrey Morganthaler figured out this helpful trick: just make one - err, two - from a hardwood French rolling pin with tapered ends. You can buy a 20" solid maple pin for $11.46, cut it in half, sand the edges, and you're done. Jeffrey says, " You’ve got a narrow end for lightly muddling herbs, and a wide end for mashing the heck out of some limes for a tasty Caipirinha. There you go, cheapskates! The good news is that you can allay some of your shame with the knowledge that this is seriously one of the best muddlers you’ll ever use. Enjoy."
Sounds pretty good to me. I've even turned my own muddlers, and I think I'm gonna do this next time I do an Amazon order.
Build a Better ($5.63) Muddler [JeffreyMorganthaler.com]