Bushwacker Cocktail Recipe

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Bushwacker Nutrition Facts






Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 7, 2024


The Bushwacker cocktail is a popular frozen drink that originated in the 1970s in the Virgin Islands. It was created by bartender Angie Conigliaro at the Ship's Store & Sapphire Pub on St. Thomas. The drink quickly gained popularity and became a favorite among locals and tourists alike. The Bushwacker is often compared to a chocolate milkshake with a kick, making it a perfect tropical treat.

  • Origin: Virgin Islands
  • Created by: Angie Conigliaro
  • Popular in: Caribbean, beach bars

How Bushwacker Tastes?

The Bushwacker cocktail is a creamy, rich, and indulgent drink with a velvety texture. It has a sweet, chocolatey taste with hints of coffee and coconut. The rum adds a subtle warmth and depth to the flavor profile.

Interesting facts about Bushwacker

  • The Bushwacker is often referred to as an 'adult milkshake' due to its creamy texture and sweet taste.
  • The drink is named after a type of Caribbean bush cricket, known for its loud and distinctive song.
  • The Bushwacker has inspired several variations, including the 'Painkiller' and the 'Mudslide'.


Dark Rum

Dark rum adds a rich, molasses-like sweetness and a slight kick that's essential to the Bushwacker's boozy backbone. Too little and you'll miss the warm buzz, too much and you'll overwhelm the other flavors. No dark rum? Try light rum for a lighter taste or bourbon for a twist.

Emma Rose

Cream of Coconut

Think of cream of coconut as the tropical caress in this delightful concoction. It brings a sweet, creamy coconut flavor that's critical. Skip it, and you're denying yourself the full island experience. If you can't find it, coconut milk mixed with a touch of sweetened condensed milk might save your cocktail.

Alex Green

Coffee Liqueur

The coffee liqueur gives your Bushwacker depth and a hint of sophistication. It's like the difference between a good morning and a great morning. Without it, you'll lose the complex notes that coffee brings to the party. A substitute? Try a shot of espresso with a teaspoon of sugar.

Mary Mitkina

Crème de Cacao

Without the crème de cacao, your Bushwacker could end up being a cream of coconut monologue rather than an ensemble cast of flavors. It adds chocolatey undertones that play beautifully with the other ingredients. Miss out on it, and the performance falls flat. A dash of chocolate syrup could be a stand-in if you're in a pinch.

Emma Rose

Milk or Half-and-Half

This is your smooth operator. It mellows everything out and blends it into a sippable delight. If milk went on vacation, your drink might come off a bit too strong. But swap it with cream and you're looking at a richer, more indulgent affair.

Alex Green


Ice is the unsung hero. It's not just chilling; it's changing the texture of the drink to something like a boozy smoothie. Lose the ice, and you might as well be drinking a different concoction altogether.

Mary Mitkina

Whipped Cream

Whipped cream is the cloud on which all the other ingredients sit. It's optional but without it, you'll miss the fluffy hat that makes it festive. No whipped cream? A splash of heavy cream could still add a touch of luxury.

Emma Rose

Chocolate Syrup

The chocolate syrup is your final flourish; a visual and flavorful cue that this isn't your average cocktail. Skip it, and no one will call the cocktail police, but you'll miss out on that extra oomph.

Alex Green

Maraschino Cherry

This is the cherry on top – literally. It's a classic garnish that signals "time to relax." Without it, you'll still have a solid drink, but that playful pop of color and a sweet bite at the end will be missing.

Mary Mitkina

Recipe. How to make Bushwacker Drink

  1. In a blender, combine the dark rum, cream of coconut, coffee liqueur, crème de cacao, milk or half-and-half, and ice.
  2. Blend until smooth and creamy.
  3. Pour the mixture into a chilled hurricane or highball glass.
  4. Top with a dollop of whipped cream and a drizzle of chocolate syrup.
  5. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.

Pro Tips

  • Blend: For a smoother texture, blend the cocktail for a longer period of time.
  • Ice: Use crushed ice for a quicker and smoother blend.
  • Garnish: For an extra touch, sprinkle some grated chocolate on top of the whipped cream.

Perfect Pairings


  • Chocolate: The rich chocolate notes in the cocktail are a perfect match for chocolate-based desserts like brownies or chocolate cake.
  • Ice Cream: A classic vanilla or coconut ice cream can complement the creamy texture and tropical flavors of the Bushwacker.


  • Nuts: Almonds or cashews can offer a pleasant contrast with their salty crunch.
  • Tropical Fruit: Pineapple or mango slices would echo the cocktail's beachy vibe.

Main Courses

Emphasizing the dessert-like nature of the Bushwacker, it is best paired with lighter fare or as a standalone treat.


  • Non-alcoholic: Chilled espresso or coffee; these can enhance the coffee liqueur flavor in the cocktail.
  • Alcoholic: A light rum punch may continue the tropical theme without overpowering the palate.

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What you could change in Bushwacker

  • Dark Rum: Can be substituted with Bourbon or Brandy.
  • Cream of Coconut: Can be substituted with Coconut Milk.
  • Coffee Liqueur: Can be substituted with Espresso or Strong Brewed Coffee.

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And of course - twists🍹

Mocha Bushwacker

Ingredients: Replace half the milk with strong chilled coffee. Recipe: Follow the original recipe, substituting the milk with a mix of half milk and half strong coffee. Flavor: This twist will introduce a bold coffee flavor, turning the Bushwacker into a caffeinated delight perfect for coffee lovers.

Spicy Bushwacker

Ingredients: Add a small slice of habanero pepper or a few dashes of spicy bitters. Recipe: Add the spicy element to the blender with the other ingredients and blend carefully. Flavor: The heat will add an unexpected kick that contrasts with the sweetness for those who like a little fire with their treat.

Nutty Bushwacker

Ingredients: Add a shot of hazelnut liqueur and use almond milk instead of regular milk. Recipe: Combine all ingredients, including the hazelnut liqueur, in the blender and blend until smooth. Flavor: This twist will create a nuttier, more complex flavor profile, ideal for those who enjoy notes of hazelnut and almond.

In case you forgot basics how to make Bushwacker

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

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Frequently Asked Questions on Bushwacker

What type of glass should I use for serving a Bushwacker?

A Bushwacker is traditionally served in a chilled hurricane or highball glass, but any large glass will do.

What is the best time of day to enjoy a Bushwacker?

The Bushwacker is a perfect afternoon or evening drink, especially in the summer or at tropical locations. However, it can be enjoyed anytime you desire a sweet, indulgent cocktail.

Is Bushwacker a strong alcoholic cocktail?

While the Bushwacker contains several alcoholic ingredients, it's considered as a moderate cocktail due to its 'milkshake' like qualities and not being overwhelmingly strong.

Is there a non-alcoholic version of the Bushwacker?

Yes, for a non-alcoholic version, you can substitute the alcoholic ingredients with chocolate syrup, coconut cream and cold brewed coffee or a coffee flavoured syrup.

Can I use any kind of rum for a Bushwacker?

The traditional recipe calls for dark rum, but you can experiment with different types of rum to suit your taste. However, darker rums will generally give a richer flavour.

Is the Bushwacker similar to any other cocktails?

Yes, the Bushwacker is often compared to the Mudslide, another creamy and chocolaty cocktail. It's also similar to the Piña Colada due to its rum and coconut flavors.

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