Features Spirits

SHAGGY DOG STORY

There’s something to be said about island style. It doesn’t automatically have to be long, fruity drinks or exclusively pineapple and coconut. Combine creaminess with chocolate flavour and it’s an automatic crowd pleaser.

The Bushwacker cocktail is somewhat unexpected. A token Google search about what the term bushwhacked means, reveals that it is another description for being ambushed.

According to one source a bush-whacker was American English around the turn of the 19th century and was used to describe a woodsman – or someone accustomed to life in the bush. Quite literally, someone who beats the bushes – and it is believed to have originated from the Dutch bosch-wachter or forest keeper.

But when it comes to cocktails, the Bushwacker is a relatively new one, appearing for the first time in 1975. Records reflect that it was created at the Ship’s Store, Sapphire Pub at Sapphire village in St Thomas, Virgin Islands. It’s described as a chocolate Piña Colada …

The drink’s invention or creation is attributed to Angie Conigliaro with assistance from Ship’s Store restaurant manager Tom Brokamp. And an Afghan hound supplied the name. By way of explanation, the shaggy dog belonged to two flight attendants who – when not flying – never went anywhere without their dog, Bushwack.

Conigliaro played around with a host of ingredients before settling on vodka, Kahlua, coconut rum, Bailey’s Irish cream liqueur, Amaretto, dark rum and crushed ice. All the ingredients were whizzed up in a blender with ice. Of course, because so many Americans vacationed in the islands, they soon developed a taste for the Bushwacker and demanded that their local mixologists recreate it once home – which is where the drink was changed.

So there are two versions of the Bushwacker – the Virgin Islands one and the Pensacola, Florida adaptation which is the more broadly recognised edition. It contains dark rum, Kahlua, dark crème de cacao, cream of coconut liqueur, milk and ice – again, all blended and then served with a grating of fresh nutmeg atop the drink.

Wikipedia reports that there are a host of different variations and the alcohol component can range from 40% of the drink to as high as 75% ­­– or even totally omitted for those eschewing alcohol.

No matter which way it’s enjoyed, it remains a delicious grown-up or adult boozy milkshake.

Pensacola Bushwacker

30 ml dark rum

30 ml Kahlua

30 ml dark Creme de Cacao

60 ml Cream of Coconut or Coco Rico

60 ml Milk

1 cup Ice

Method:

Prepare your glass by pouring chocolate syrup on the inside.

Whizz all the ingredients together in a blender – including the ice.

Pour the drink into the prepared glass and top with freshly grated nutmeg and a maraschino cherry.

(Non-alcoholic or virgin Bushwacker: Blend chocolate syrup, milk and ice as you would for a simple chocolate milkshake.)

Virgin Islands Bushwacker

15 ml vodka

15 ml Bailey’s Irish Cream

15 ml coconut rum

15 ml Kahlua

15 ml Amaretto

15 ml dark rum

¾ cup crushed ice

Method:

Prepare your glass by pouring chocolate syrup on the inside.

Whizz all the ingredients together in a blender – including the ice.

Pour the drink into the prepared glass and top with freshly grated nutmeg and a maraschino cherry.