Many people love the Bushwacker because of its mix of contrasting flavors. Served over ice in a margarita or highball glass or in a tall glass with a swivel straw, this drink starts with a flood of sweetness and ends in a kick. The Bushwacker has several variations, but the basic ingredients remain the same: a mix of flavored cremes and cordials. These mildly alcoholic drinks cover some of the harshness of higher proof spirits like rum without diluting enjoyment of the drink. Cremes and cordials mix well with other kinds of non-alcoholic juices and dairy products like half and half. They taste best poured over ice.

Cream of Coconut

Pour in cream of coconut first. Producers make this coconut milk by mixing water with shredded coconut and simmering until a frothy and thick liquid forms. This milky white drink pairs well with alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages; people rarely drink it alone. Several brands of coconut cream include Coco Lopez, La Preferida and Pepe Lopez. Choose your favorite brand; any one of these works well in mixed drinks. Use four parts coconut creme.

Coffee Liqueur

Producers mix coffee and brandy to make coffee liqueur. A handful of companies make coffee liqueur, all of them producing a 26 percent alcoholic drink. Many people favor Kahlua Coffee Liqueur, but other brands include Starbucks, Tia Maria, Kamora and Sheridan’s. Any of these will be fine for mixed drinks. Pour two parts coffee liqueur into the coconut milk.

Creme de Cacao

Cacao plant seeds and vanilla beans fermented and mixed with cream create creme de cacao. Creme de Cacao comes in sweet white and slightly bitter dark chocolate varieties. Use dark creme de cacao for a traditional Bushwacker and white for a sweeter version. Godiva makes both flavors of creme, though Dekyupers, Arrow and Jacquins also make good creme de cacao. Pour one part creme de cacao into the other ingredients.


A mix of distilled sugar cane, cane syrup and molasses aged in charred wooden barrels results in a high-proof beverage clear in color, commonly known as rum. Dark rums have artificial color added. Spices can be blended into it also to create spiced rum. Flavored rums include coconut, melon and citrus flavors. Use unflavored rum or coconut rum for a Bushwacker. Choose your favorite brand: Captain Morgan, Bacardi and Cruzan all make high-quality rum. Add one part rum to the other ingredients.

Half and Half

For a less alcoholic drink, add half and half, 2 percent to whole milk or cream. The thick creaminess of each of these non-alcoholic dairy products mixes well with alcoholic drinks, especially cream-based ones. Use four parts of any of these products. Do not use 1 percent or skim milk; their thin consistency won’t mix with the alcohol properly and will distort the drink’s taste.