Shoehorning all creamy cocktails into a dessert category is a tragedy. It’s likely what you imagine when you think of the Mudslide, a cocktail consisting of almost equal parts of vodka, Irish cream liqueur, and coffee liqueur.
But it doesn’t have to be that way—a Mudslide can be subtle, and while rich, not nearly as sweet as you might think.
Due to the association with dessert, a Mudslide is typically enjoyed as an after-dinner drink. If you’re thinking of enjoying this a little later as a nightcap, just be forewarned that caffeine levels in coffee liqueurs can vary, so check the label first. It might be the difference between perking you up after a big dinner and pacing the floor at 2 in the morning.
What's a Mudslide?
This creamy, shaken cocktail is comprised of vodka, Irish cream, and coffee liqueur. Supposedly it’s a riff on the classic White Russian, which has vodka, Kahlúa, and heavy cream. For the Mudslide, the heavy cream is swapped out with Irish Cream, which is a blend of Irish whiskey, cream, and chocolate. It can only be made in Ireland to be called Irish Cream.
While the original recipe was made with Bailey’s Irish Cream, I reach for Kerrygold’s Irish Cream for this and most any recipe that calls for Irish Cream. It has a very chocolatey aroma and taste, and the whiskey is present, but not overpowering. It’s delicious on its own but mixes up well in cocktails. It tastes like a high-quality chocolate.
I personally love the Australian brand, Mr. Black Cold Brew Liqueur, with its intense coffee flavor, and often use it instead of Kalhúa. Want to try making your own Kahlúa? Here’s a homemade version that might do the trick.
The Origin Story
Tracing a drink back to its origin gives it some weight. And I love knowing all the fun tidbits about drinks and their history. The Mudslide has a mostly clear-cut origin that starts at The Wreck Bar & Grill at Rum Point on Grand Cayman.
It was there that a bartender was asked to make a White Russian. Not having any cream on hand, they used Bailey’s Irish Cream, which had just come to market in the mid-1970s. The creation took off, becoming a household name to this day.
How to Make a Mudslide
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, vodka, Irish Cream, and coffee liqueur. This is important: shake it properly. With these liqueurs, you need to shake hard and long (about 20 seconds) to incorporate everything. Shake it vigorously to uniformly mix the cocktail and give it a proper dilution (the amount of water that gets into your drink).
Shaking the drink also introduces some air bubbles into the mix. It will give your cocktail a foamy top, a pleasurable addition to creamy drinks.
Swaps and Substitutions
A Mudslide cocktail is yummy on its own, but it’s also a great base for mixing things up. Try a few of these swaps and subs after you’ve mastered the original.
- Make it frozen! Although a Mudslide is known to be served on the rocks, you can blend it with ice or even ice cream to make a frosty, adults-only treat.
- Although the name may suggest a more chocolate-y cocktail, there is, in fact, only a hint of chocolate from the Irish Cream. If you prefer to turn up the chocolate and really make this a dessert cocktail, add in a tablespoon of chocolate sauce before shaking.
- Chocolate and raspberries are a sweet match and if you enjoy that combo, swap out regular vodka with a raspberry vodka for a fruity take on the drink.
- If you’re considering a garnish for this drink, try a light sprinkle of dark chocolate shavings.
More Creamy Cocktails to Try
- Ice for the shaker
- 1 1/2 ounces vodka
- 1 ounce Irish Cream liqueur
- 1 ounce coffee liqueur, like Kahlúa
Shake the cocktail and serve:
In a cocktail shaker filled two thirds with ice, pour in the vodka, Irish Cream liqueur, and coffee liqueur. Shake hard for 20 seconds, strain into a coupe glass and serve.