Does anything hit the spot better than a frozen drink on a hot day? I don’t think so! I have had my fair share of tropical pina coladas, daquiris, frozé, and frozen margaritas during the summer. Those fruity blended drinks are so refreshing and vibrant and are pretty much synonymous with fun in the sun and poolside sipping. But have you ever heard of a bushwacker?
I most certainly had not until my dear friend Andrea Miller, our Marketing Manager here at The Chopping Block, introduced me to them in a recent visit to Pensacola Beach, Florida. This glorious concoction is made up of Crème de Cacao, rum, Kalua, cream of coconut, milk and ice. To me, it was like a pina colada got together with a mudslide to make the most decadent boozy milkshake.
They say that the original was named after a bar patrons’ dog and first seen in 1975 at the Ship's Store, Sapphire Pub at Sapphire Village in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. It gained so much popularity there is even a festival devoted to it!
I was wanting to get away to get my fun in the sun in before the cold Chicago weather hit and low and behold, I came back and it was unseasonably warm here in the city. So, I was on a mission to make the most of this summer-like autumn we were having and recreate this absolutely fabulous frozen drink. Honestly though, this drink can be enjoyed year round as a pre-game treat (too many of these really do fill you up) or most certainly as an after-dinner dessert cocktail!
I really love my old school Vitamix for bartending. It has a metal canister so it really keeps frozen drinks nice and cold. I made way too much so I put the whole canister in the freezer and was able to re-blend when I was ready to drink it again.
Yield: 4 drinks
2 ounces dark rum
1 ounce coffee liqueur (such as Kahlúa)
1 ounce dark creme de cacao
2 ounces whole milk
1 ounce cream of coconut (such as Coco Lopez)
Garnish: nutmeg, freshly grated
1-2 cups of ice
- Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth and frothy.
- Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.
Anyone who knows me knows how obsessive I can be when I really like something! I am now completely enamored with this drink and have been playing around with different alcohols and ratios. Let’s talk about ingredients.
1. Any kind of dark rum can be used for this recipe. I used Bacardi but I really like Captain Morgan and Goslings for the extra spice notes.
2. Kahlua is pretty standard as a go to for coffee liquor and it has rum in it to make the perfect addition in the Bushwacker drink, but I am also really into Mr. Black coffee liquor, which is excellent in a martini too.
3. Crème de Cacao is a sweet alcoholic chocolate flavored liqueur, often scented with a hint of vanilla and made from vodka. It is different from chocolate liqueur, which is usually sweeter and more syrupy. There are dark and white versions, but I prefer the dark option for this cocktail.
4. Now, I didn’t have milk when I made these for the first time, and I was actually grateful. I don’t always like to mix my booze with dairy if I can help it. So, what I did instead was added one ounce of Baileys and an extra ounce of cream of coconut.
5. In this recipe, it is important to use cream of coconut; I used the Coco Lopez brand and not just coconut milk. It is thicker and sweeter and really gives the drink that tropical flavor.
One other tip I learned while on my vacation: to be like a local and make the drink a bit more intense, you can float an extra shot of rum over the top. This helps thin out the concoction for ease of sipping through a straw. One of the bars we went to had a cool pipette to stick in the drink to add the rum. I tried to recreate this at home (full disclosure I used a syringe that I usually use for glow in the dark Jello shots for Halloween parties!) But that will have to be a different blog…
You really can alter this basic recipe to suit your needs and flavor preferences. If you want it to be more chocolatey, add more crème de cacao, or if you like more coffee flavor, bump up the Kahlua. You could always use a non dairy milk like almond for nuttiness or coconut milk instead of whole milk. Even if you didn’t have rum, this drink can easily be made with whiskey or vodka!
I highly recommend trying this cocktail at your next holiday party, because even if it is cold outside, this drink is sure to be a hit. If you are really into cocktails, you should check out our Virtual Epic Holiday Cocktails class. Our Spirits Expert Christophe Bakunas is a wealth of knowledge and is really great at explaining the way to build a better cocktail at home. In this class, you will learn how to make The Alexander #2 drink which combines Cognac, Crème de Cacao and Cream. That's great because now that you have that bottle of Crème de Cacao to make Bushwackers, you will have yet another use for it. Cheers!