In the culinary world, the word mudslide refers to a sweet, creamy cocktail, not a natural disaster. The mudslide cocktail is often categorized in the "trio" category of cocktails, because it is made with three different kinds of alcohol. Mudslides are made with Malibu rum, Kahlúa, and Irish cream. Sometimes vodka is used to substitute for the Malibu rum.
The nonalcoholic ingredient in mudslides is cream. Sometimes cream is replaced with milk or skim milk. For a richer flavor, some people like to use chocolate milk instead of cream or milk. Some mudslides are even served with a topping of grated chocolate or powdered cocoa.
Mudslides are served cold, usually over crushed ice. It is also very common to have them blended with ice. When the ingredients for a mudslide are blended with ice, the drink is called a frozen mudslide. The drink is served cold or frozen, so it is very popular in warm climates and during hot weather months.
The strength of this drink will depend on the ratio of alcohol to milk or cream. In fact, mudslides can be served as shots when they are poured with just a touch of cream. The drink is best served cold, so mudslide shots should be shaken with ice before they are poured.
As with most cocktails, there are endless variations on this drink. Some people like to add flavored syrups to the drink. Others prefer not to use vodka because it can overpower the other flavors. It is possible to blend the drink with other ingredients such as bananas so that it is both a smoothie and a cocktail. Some mudslide recipes call for garnishes of fresh, sliced strawberries.
If a syrup is added to a mudslide recipe, the glass may be lined with the flavored syrup of choice just before pouring the drink. This can be done by pouring a small amount of syrup into the glass and tilting it from side to side until the entire interior of the glass is coated. This is best to use if you are using a low glass like a tumbler instead of a tall glass like a water glass.
When serving mudslides in hot weather, it is a special treat to serve them in frozen glasses. About half an hour before serving the drinks, wet the glasses with cold water and put them in the freezer. Serving mudslides in frozen glasses will keep the cocktail cold.