What is a bushwacker drink?

If you’re a fan of tropical cocktails and creamy concoctions, you might find yourself asking, “What is a Bushwacker drink?” This intriguing libation has made waves in beachside communities and cocktail lounges alike, offering a delightful blend of flavors that transport you to the sun-soaked shores of the Caribbean.

A Bushwacker is a delectable frozen cocktail that marries creamy coconut, rich chocolate, and a touch of coffee liqueur, creating a sweet and indulgent treat that’s perfect for sipping under the shade of a palm tree. Join us as we delve into the delightful world of the Bushwacker drink, exploring its origins, ingredients, and the perfect occasions for savoring this tropical delight.

What is a Bushwacker drink?

What is a bushwacker drink

A Bushwacker is a frozen cocktail that is often described as a variation of a piña colada or a chocolate piña colada. It is a creamy and indulgent drink that typically includes the following ingredients:

  1. Rum (usually dark rum or coconut rum)
  2. Kahlúa or coffee liqueur
  3. Cream of coconut (such as Coco López)
  4. Crème de cacao (chocolate liqueur)
  5. Milk or cream
  6. Ice

To make a Bushwacker, you typically blend these ingredients together with ice until you achieve a thick and slushy consistency. The result is a sweet, creamy, and slightly boozy frozen cocktail with a rich chocolate-coconut flavor. It’s often served in a chilled glass or a hurricane glass and garnished with whipped cream and a cherry.

The exact proportions of these ingredients may vary depending on the recipe and personal preferences, but the key components are the rum, coffee liqueur, cream of coconut, and crème de cacao, which give the Bushwacker its distinctive taste. It’s a popular drink in coastal areas and beach destinations, where it’s enjoyed as a refreshing and decadent treat.

Is a Bushwacker a frozen or blended drink?

A Bushwacker is typically a blended alcoholic cocktail rather than a frozen one. It’s a creamy and sweet cocktail that usually contains ingredients like rum, coffee liqueur (such as Kahlúa), coconut cream or coconut milk, and sometimes chocolate syrup. These ingredients are blended together with ice to create a smooth and frozen consistency, making it similar to a milkshake in texture.

The Bushwacker is known for its tropical and indulgent flavors, making it a popular choice at beach bars and tiki-themed establishments. However, it’s important to note that variations of this cocktail may exist, and the exact recipe can vary from place to place or depending on personal preferences.

Where did the Bushwacker drink originate?

The exact origin of the Bushwacker cocktail is a bit unclear and subject to debate, as is the case with many cocktail creations. It is believed to have originated in the 1970s, and there are competing claims about its birthplace. Two popular locations often associated with the creation of the Bushwacker are the Virgin Islands and Pensacola Beach, Florida.

  1. Virgin Islands: Some sources suggest that the Bushwacker may have been first created in the U.S. Virgin Islands, particularly on the island of St. Thomas. This tropical paradise is known for its rum production and vibrant cocktail culture, making it a plausible birthplace for a rum-based drink like the Bushwacker.
  2. Pensacola Beach, Florida: Another claim to the Bushwacker’s origin points to Pensacola Beach, Florida. This beach town has a history of beachfront bars and a thriving tourism industry, making it a likely place for the cocktail to gain popularity.

Regardless of its precise origin, the Bushwacker has become a beloved cocktail in coastal and beachfront areas, particularly in the southeastern United States, where it’s often associated with vacation and relaxation by the beach. It’s a creamy and indulgent drink that’s perfect for sipping on a hot summer day.

Are there variations of the Bushwacker cocktail?

Yes, there are variations of the Bushwacker cocktail, and different bars and individuals may have their own take on this popular frozen drink. While the core ingredients generally remain the same (rum, coffee liqueur, coconut cream or milk, and sometimes chocolate syrup), variations can include the following:

  1. Flavor Variations: Some versions of the Bushwacker incorporate additional flavors to create unique variations. For example, you might find versions that include banana liqueur, amaretto, or hazelnut liqueur to add extra dimensions of taste.
  2. Rum Variations: While white or dark rum is traditionally used, you might encounter Bushwackers made with flavored rums like coconut rum or spiced rum, which can change the overall profile of the drink.
  3. Garnishes: The garnishes on a Bushwacker can vary. It’s common to top the drink with whipped cream and a maraschino cherry. Some variations may also include shredded coconut, grated chocolate, or even a sprinkle of nutmeg.
  4. Non-Alcoholic Versions: To cater to non-drinkers or those looking for a virgin (alcohol-free) option, there are non-alcoholic versions of the Bushwacker that substitute the alcohol with ingredients like coffee-flavored syrups and non-alcoholic coffee liqueurs.
  5. Texture Variations: While the traditional Bushwacker is typically blended to a smooth, frozen consistency, some variations may have a slightly different texture. For instance, some may be served with crushed ice for a slushier consistency.
  6. Spiced Variations: Some recipes may incorporate spices like cinnamon or nutmeg to give the Bushwacker a spiced twist.

The Bushwacker is a versatile cocktail, and bartenders often put their own spin on it to create signature versions. So, if you order a Bushwacker at different bars or try making one at home, you might encounter some delightful variations in flavor and presentation.

What type of alcohol is typically used in a Bushwacker?

What is a bushwacker drink

The type of alcohol typically used in a Bushwacker cocktail is rum. Specifically, dark rum or white rum is commonly used as the primary alcoholic base for this frozen drink. The choice between dark and white rum can affect the flavor profile of the Bushwacker.

  1. Dark Rum: Dark rum is often chosen for its richer and more robust flavor, which can add depth and complexity to the cocktail. It contributes a slightly caramelized and molasses-like note to the drink.
  2. White Rum: White rum, on the other hand, is a lighter and more neutral spirit. It allows the other flavors in the cocktail, such as the coffee liqueur and coconut, to shine through more prominently. This can result in a slightly sweeter and more refreshing Bushwacker.

The specific type and brand of rum can vary depending on personal preferences and regional variations. Some people may prefer a particular brand or style of rum, and bartenders may choose to use what is readily available or suits their recipe best.

Ultimately, the choice of rum can influence the overall taste of the Bushwacker, so you can experiment to find the version that you enjoy the most.

Is the Bushwacker a popular beach or tropical drink?

Yes, the Bushwacker is indeed a popular beach and tropical drink. It is often associated with coastal and tropical destinations, beachfront bars, and vacation spots in the southeastern United States and the Caribbean. This creamy, frozen cocktail is known for its indulgent and tropical flavors, making it a perfect choice for sipping on a hot day by the beach or pool.

Many beach bars and resorts in places like Florida, the Gulf Coast, and the Caribbean offer Bushwackers on their drink menus. It has become a favorite among tourists and locals alike in these regions. The combination of rum, coffee liqueur, coconut cream or milk, and a smooth, frozen texture makes it a refreshing and satisfying choice for those seeking a taste of the tropics.

Whether you’re lounging on a sandy shore, enjoying a coastal vacation, or simply trying to capture the feel of a beach getaway, the Bushwacker is a classic tropical cocktail that can transport you to a relaxed and beachy state of mind.

What is the alcohol content of a standard Bushwacker?

The alcohol content of a standard Bushwacker can vary depending on the recipe and how it’s made. Typically, a traditional Bushwacker cocktail contains multiple types of alcohol, including rum and coffee liqueur, as well as other ingredients like coconut cream or milk. The specific alcohol content can also depend on the proportions used in the recipe.

As a rough estimate, a standard Bushwacker may have an alcohol by volume (ABV) content in the range of 10% to 15%. However, this can vary significantly depending on factors like the amount and type of rum used, the strength of the coffee liqueur, and whether additional liqueurs or flavorings are added. Some variations or homemade versions of the Bushwacker may have a higher or lower ABV.

It’s essential to consume alcoholic beverages responsibly and be aware of your alcohol tolerance, especially when enjoying cocktails like the Bushwacker, which can be deceptively strong due to their sweet and creamy nature. If you’re unsure about the alcohol content of a specific Bushwacker you’re served, you can always ask the bartender for more information.

Are there non-alcoholic versions of the Bushwacker available?

Yes, there are non-alcoholic versions of the Bushwacker available for those who prefer to enjoy the flavors of this tropical cocktail without the alcohol. These non-alcoholic Bushwacker recipes are often referred to as “Virgin Bushwackers” or “Virgin Bushwhackers.”

To make a non-alcoholic Bushwacker, you can replace the alcoholic ingredients with non-alcoholic alternatives. Here’s a basic recipe:


  • 1/2 cup of coconut cream or coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup of chocolate syrup
  • 1/4 cup of coffee-flavored syrup (or coffee extract)
  • 1/2 cup of crushed ice
  • Whipped cream (optional, for garnish)
  • Maraschino cherry (optional, for garnish)


  1. Add the coconut cream or coconut milk, chocolate syrup, coffee-flavored syrup, and crushed ice to a blender.
  2. Blend until the mixture is smooth and has a thick, creamy consistency.
  3. Pour the non-alcoholic Bushwacker into a glass.
  4. If desired, top with whipped cream and garnish with a maraschino cherry.

The non-alcoholic version captures the sweet and creamy essence of the Bushwacker without the alcohol content. It’s a great choice for individuals who don’t consume alcohol or for those looking for a refreshing and indulgent mocktail.

What garnishes are commonly used with a Bushwacker?

What is a bushwacker drink

Garnishes for a Bushwacker can vary depending on personal preferences and the establishment where it’s served. However, some common garnishes and toppings often associated with a Bushwacker include:

  1. Whipped Cream: Whipped cream is a popular garnish for Bushwackers. It adds a creamy and sweet touch to the drink, enhancing its indulgent nature.
  2. Maraschino Cherry: A maraschino cherry is often placed on top of the whipped cream. It not only adds a pop of color but also provides a fruity contrast to the rich flavors of the cocktail.
  3. Shredded Coconut: Some versions of the Bushwacker may be garnished with shredded coconut. It complements the coconut flavors in the drink and adds a bit of texture.
  4. Chocolate Shavings or Sprinkles: Grated chocolate or chocolate sprinkles can be sprinkled on top of the whipped cream for a chocolatey finish. This enhances the dessert-like quality of the cocktail.
  5. Nutmeg or Cinnamon: A dusting of ground nutmeg or cinnamon can add a warm and aromatic touch to the Bushwacker, particularly if it has a spiced variation.
  6. Straws and Umbrellas: To complete the tropical beach vibe, some Bushwackers are served with colorful straws and paper cocktail umbrellas.

Remember that garnishes are not only for visual appeal but also for enhancing the aroma and flavor of the cocktail. The choice of garnishes can vary from one place to another, and you can customize your Bushwacker with your favorite toppings to suit your taste preferences.

How does the Bushwacker compare to other frozen cocktails?

The Bushwacker is a frozen cocktail with its own unique flavor profile, but it can be compared to other frozen cocktails in terms of ingredients, texture, and popularity. Here’s how the Bushwacker compares to some other well-known frozen cocktails:

  1. Piña Colada: The Bushwacker and the Piña Colada are both creamy and frozen cocktails, but they differ in flavor. While the Bushwacker has a rich and indulgent combination of rum, coffee liqueur, and coconut, the Piña Colada features a tropical blend of rum, coconut cream or coconut milk, and pineapple juice. Piña Coladas are typically sweeter and fruitier than Bushwackers.
  2. Mudslide: The Mudslide is another creamy frozen cocktail that shares some similarities with the Bushwacker. It contains vodka, coffee liqueur, and Irish cream liqueur, giving it a chocolate-coffee flavor with a hint of creaminess. The key difference is the choice of spirits, with the Mudslide using vodka and Irish cream instead of rum and coconut.
  3. Frozen Margarita: In contrast to the Bushwacker, a Frozen Margarita is a tart and citrusy frozen cocktail made with tequila, lime juice, and orange liqueur. It has a completely different flavor profile and is known for its refreshing and zesty taste.
  4. Frozen Daiquiri: The Frozen Daiquiri is a simple and classic frozen cocktail made with white rum, lime juice, and simple syrup. It’s fruity, tangy, and not as creamy as the Bushwacker. Fruit flavors like strawberry, banana, and mango are often added to create various Daiquiri variations.
  5. Frozen Strawberry Colada: This is a variation of the Piña Colada, where strawberries are added to the mix to create a fruity and refreshing frozen cocktail. It’s similar in texture to a Bushwacker but with a distinct strawberry flavor.



You can get to find the answers to the question what is bushwacker drink on this page. The Bushwacker is a popular frozen cocktail known for its creamy and indulgent tropical flavors. Typically made with rum, coffee liqueur, coconut cream or milk, and sometimes chocolate syrup, it’s a sweet and satisfying drink often associated with beachfront bars and vacation spots.

The Bushwacker is garnished with whipped cream, a maraschino cherry, and sometimes shredded coconut or chocolate, creating a dessert-like cocktail perfect for sipping on a hot day by the beach.