The bushwacker, an indulgently sweet, creamy dessert of a cocktail, has its roots in the U.S. Virgin Islands but rose to the fore after the Sandshaker Beach Bar in Pensacola Beach, Florida, launched its version in 1975. Both versions are simple to make, requiring straightforward blending of tropical spirits and liqueurs to yield a gut-busting but refreshing summer drink heavy in coffee and coconut aromas.

Things You'll Need

Original Version

Create a full-blooded Caribbean cocktail, which uses only alcoholic ingredients, by mixing equal parts of rum, vodka, Kahlua, Bailey’s Irish Cream, amaretto, frangelico and crème de cacao in a blender.

Pulse until the liquid is a consistent color, adding cubes of ice through the lid in the blender until it is uniformly crushed.

Pour into a highball or hurricane glass and top off with whipped cream if desired.

Sprinkle with powdered nutmeg. Otherwise, a bushwacker is not garnished.

Pensacola Version

Put a more luxuriant Florida spin on the original by substituting some of the liqueurs for dairy. Mix 1 part dark rum, 2 parts Kahlua, 1 part crème de cacao, 4 parts cream of coconut, and 4 parts milk or half and half in a blender.

Add ice gradually through the lid, blending as you go. For a thick and velvety version, add a few scoops of vanilla ice cream, too.

Serve in a tall glass.


  • Substitute Kahlua with Tia Maria or similar coffee liqueur if the original is not available.

  • Use Caribbean rum, such as Pusser’s from the British Virgin Islands, or Cruzan rum for an authentic finish.