The Basics History & Trends

6 Things You Should Know About the Mudslide

Image: Tim Nusog

It’s time to embrace the milk mustache! The Mudslide may be one of the cocktail world’s most decadent, guilty pleasures, but unlike the time-sensitive Tom & Jerry or effort-driven Eggnog, it’s a breeze to whip up. These are six things you need to know about the Mudslide.

1. It’s All About the Cream

The Mudslide is not a drink for the lactose intolerant. This rich, frothy lac-attack is all about the dairy and cream liqueurs. Specifically: Irish cream liqueur and heavy cream. (No, you can’t use skim or 2% milk; it just doesn’t work out.) Add in coffee liqueur and vodka, and the only natural disaster in sight is the complete and total destruction of any healthy diet you may have been following.

2. Its Roots Are Caribbean

While it might seem like a drink invented by someone on holiday at a ski lodge, the Mudslide saw its birth at Wreck Bar in Rum Point Club on Grand Cayman Island. “We are the home of the mudslide,” says Kyle Creasap, the food and beverage director of Rum Point Club. “As legend has it, the Mudslide was invented here based on the fact that a customer came in and wanted to order a White Russian. And at that time, Wreck Bar was just a thatched hut. We did not have heavy cream,” he says. “But they had a bottle of Irish cream liqueur, and that’s how it first happened.”

Mudslide at Wreck Bar in Rum Point Club on Grand Cayman. Rum Point Club

3. It Was Invented in the Mid- to Late 1970s

While there are more than a few articles pegging the drink’s invention to the 1950s, there’s one indisputable fact that refutes this notion and places it snug in the late ’70s: the use of Irish cream. This key component was not officially launched as an international bottled product until Baileys debuted it in 1974.

4. There’s No Chocolate in It—Well, Sort Of

The word “mud” in the name would lead a reasonable person to believe that there’s chocolate in the cocktail—like, say, in Mississippi Mud Pie. Not exactly. While Mud Pie is indeed a chocolate concoction, there’s no bevy of cacao beans as an added ingredient to the Mudslide. There is, however, a little cocoa extract in products like Baileys. But the drink actually requires no additional chocolate syrup or liqueur. (Although, a dash of aromatic chocolate bitters does do wonders.)

5. It’s Better Shaken

While you might be inclined to simply give your Mudslide a little mellow mixing to its mélange of creamy goodness, make the effort to give it a good shake. “I prefer it shaken and served chilled,” says Travis Sanders, head bartender at Pennyroyal and Shaker + Spear in Seattle. “It creates a better balance and flavor.” Indeed, the rule of thumb is: If the drink contains dairy, eggs, syrup, cream liqueur or citrus, shake to fully integrate the ingredients, get the proper dilution and, in this instance, achieve a nice frothy texture.

6. Amaretto Takes It from Muddy to Dirty

Oh, the ’80s. In the “Bedtime for Bonzo” Reagan decade, all that free love and open sexuality of the ’60s and ’70s kind of got campy. The result? Riffs on the Mudslide: Add amaretto, and it becomes a Screaming Orgasm. Swap out the vodka for amaretto entirely, and it’s just a regular ol’ Orgasm. Good times!