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What Is a Molinillo?

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  • Written By: A. Leverkuhn
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 24 August 2016
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The molinillo is a kind of Mexican kitchen tool that is commonly used to make hot drinks. This tool is commonly considered similar to a whisk that blends liquid ingredients by stirring them thoroughly. These simple, often handmade, wooden tools are an alternative to many of the powered kitchen appliances sold on today’s modern retail markets.

To operate the molinillo, users typically hold the handle between their two hands with the palms touching the wooden cylinder. When they rub their hands together, the handle twists and turns rapidly, causing the tool to stir up the drink ingredients. This causes the liquid to froth and blend easily.

The molinillo is typically used to make various common drinks in Mexico and other food cultures. One of these is hot chocolate, where the molinillo helps to blend the cocoa with the other elements of the drink. Some vendors of this unique tool refer to it as a “hot cocoa frother,” especially outside of the areas where this item originated.

Many of those who are using these simple wooden tools can also use them to create other kinds of Mexican or Central American drinks. These include atole, which is a corn-based drink enjoyed in Mexico and Central America. Atole is served in chocolate and other flavors, and often sold during the winter holiday season.

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Another version of this drink is called the champurrado. This is also a drink that includes corn flour. Other common ingredients are milk, cinnamon, anise, and vanilla.

Drinks made with a molinillo are often enjoyed with various kinds of regional foods. One of these is churros, which are dough sticks flavored with cinnamon and sugar. Others include tamales, a regional dish served in a thick corn flour shell.

Although the molinillo is a simple tool, it often represents a complex and elegant craftsmanship. The handles of the utensil may be curved or flaired. The head of the tool is often ridged both horizontally and vertically. The main part of the whisk often includes various different disks with their complex engravings and patterns.

To many in Mexico and surrounding areas, the molinillo is more than just a simple kitchen tool. It represents part of a culture, and is the subject of various cultural associations with holidays or other events. Some also say that this resource helps drink makers to interact with the spirit of the drinks as the ingredients froth and blend together

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