A History of the Mudslide Cocktail

This classic cocktail is prized for its rich, creamy texture and smooth delivery of distilled spirits.
March 16, 2022

Springtime usually means rainy weeks followed by a few days of sunshine, followed by rain, followed by freezing weather, then back to the sun.

We certainly experience this weather phenomenon in the Pacific Northwest!

That level of seasonal whiplash means there are few cocktails that fit in any scenario. However, as we inch closer to St. Patrick's Day, we realized that there is a great cocktail for any time and place during Spring: The Mudslide!

As a dairy-based cocktail, the mudslide provides that creamy body and comforting richness for those foggy, cold, rainy days. When the sun is out (but it's still below 70 degrees), the chilled glass offers a little glimpse of summer without being too chilly and refreshing for the weather (that's where our Margarita, Ranch Water, and Gimlet come in).

We want everyone to enjoy the amazing Mudslide as a year-round classic cocktail for whichever weather comes your way

Note: we keep using "classic" because, as you'll see below, there are many variations that use ice cream.

What is a Mudslide cocktail?

As seen on our Wheyward mudslide cocktail recipe, a mudslide cocktail is a combination of Coffee Liqueur, Irish cream, Heavy Cream, and base spirit  (traditionally vodka). This classic cocktail is prized for its rich, creamy texture and smooth delivery of distilled spirits but even classics can use an elevated twist to meet modern-day tastes and values.

Wheyward Spirit is a natural fit for this elevated riff on the classic mudslide cocktail. Why? Let’s break it down.

Wheyward Spirit is not a vodka; it is a bold, clear, specialty spirit that can be enjoyed as a base for cocktails or sipped straight. The flavor, naturally created during fermentation, blossoms with hints of vanilla cream, warm spice, and velvety smoothness.

Wheyward Spirit is made from whey — a byproduct from the dairy industry created when the milk is transformed into cheese. This fraction of whey often goes to waste but where some saw waste we saw liquid gold! We upcycle that excess whey and developed our very own fermentation and distillation process that transforms excess whey into a smooth, delicious, flavorful, and more sustainable specialty spirit.

What better way to honor that dairy-waste-preventing process than to elevate a classic dairy-based cocktail like the MudslideEspresso Martini, or White Russian with Wheyward Spirit?

Where was the mudslide cocktail invented?

According to liquor.com, the Mudslide was invented around 1970 at the Wreck Bar in Rum Point Club in the tropical Grand Cayman Island as a variation of the White Russian cocktail (resurrected by the legendary Cohen Brother's Film, The Big Lebowski). There does seem to be some speculation around the exact time this cocktail came around; however, the Wreck Bar does seem to be the consensus about where it was invented.

From there it took on all sorts of different combinations (read: resort variations) around a central theme: chocolate and dairy. There have been variations that include brandy or cognac, others that include egg white, so on and so forth. Most recently, we've seen the dominating cocktail emerge, notably around plastic menu restaurants, that have large servings of boozy chocolate shakes.

We want to bring it back but with an elevated twist! By utilizing quality ingredients in every step of the process, we feel like the classic and under-appreciated Mudslide is finally back in its rightful place as a perfectly balanced cocktail. Substituting vodka, which can be harsh and has very little flavor, for the rich complexity of Wheyward Spirit, we can bring this classic cocktail to what it could and should be going forward, especially when enjoying an extra decadent treat.

Wait, don't you put ice cream in a mudslide?

There are all sorts of "resort variations" that have been floating around for the past 50 years, most of which include the addition of ice cream (chocolate or otherwise) and chocolate syrup around the inside of the glass. These variations are also generally blended up and served as a brain-freeze-inducing chocolate bomb with a little extra booze.

They've also grown in size from the first introduction, from serving in small, 5-ounce coupe-style glasses which we suggest for our classic wheyward mudslide cocktail to 24-ounce mega glassware (or plasticware) spring break classic best shared with a group on calories alone!

While these resort versions of the mudslide cocktail serve their purpose with a time and place, they stray from the original intent of a mudslide — a way to showcase the underlying spirit with complementary flavors. The classic cocktail version, like our wheyward mudslide recipe, is intended to lightly satisfy your sweet tooth and allow you to savor the flavor of a fine spirit while not being a sugar bomb. 

How about a mudslide in ice cream?

And how about a mudslide cocktail in the form of an ice cream flavor? Well, it is a match made in heaven when done right, as can be tasted in Ben & Jerry’s Dublin Mudslide ice cream which utilizes Wheyward Spirit within its new recipe! Aside from the great flavor complement that Wheyward Spirit provides to the rest of their ice cream inclusions, the splash of whey spirit into the ice cream formula lowers the freezing temperature of the ice cream slightly allowing a more creamy mouthfeel and "scoopability" right out of the freezer. If inspired for an elevated spring break classic you can also add a splash of Wheyward Spirit to the ice cream as a more refined pour-over treat!

What do I Need to Make a Mudslide Cocktail?

To make a mudslide cocktail, you need the following equipment:

Here are the ingredients you'll need to make a Wheyward Mudslide:

  • Wheyward Spirit
  • Coffee Liqueur
  • Irish Cream
  • Half and Half
  • Ice
  • (Optional) Chocolate Shavings
  • (Optional) Cinnamon and/or Nutmeg

Learn more at our cocktail recipe page.

Ready to try Wheyward Mudslide for yourself? Buy Wheyward Spirit here