The Painkiller cocktail was invented at the Soggy Dollar Bar at White Bay on the island of Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands. It's the ultimate tropical drink whether you're beachside, poolside, or inside.
(This recipe was originally published in March 2016, but was updated with new photos and content in 2020).
In a sea of tropical drinks, the Painkiller cocktail is a personal favorite. It originated in the 1970's on the island of Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands. The Soggy Dollar Bar on White Bay still boasts its claim to fame as inventing this fantastic drink.
One of the best things about this recipe is that you don't need a blender, just a cocktail shaker. I often find blended drinks give me brain freeze.
The recipe for this Painkiller cocktail features a few of the same ingredients as a piña colada (perhaps the most famous tropical drink around). Unlike its cousin, the Painkiller is served on the rocks, and has the added luster of orange juice to balance out the flavors.
The Painkiller cocktail is actually the signature, trademarked cocktail of Pusser's Rum. If you don't have this brand of rum in your bar you can make this Painkiller recipe with another brand of dark rum. I have also made these with spiced rum which is not traditional, but extremely delicious.
Simplify your life with canned or bottled pineapple juice. If you have a fruit juicer and would like to juice your own pineapple the results will be fantastic!
You can also use freshly squeezed or store-bought orange juice. I don't drink orange juice on it's own so for me it's easier to buy an orange or two and squeeze them myself. Either option will work here.
Cream of coconut (coconut cream) is different than coconut milk. It's a much thicker and more intensely flavored ingredient. You really can't replace the coconut cream with coconut milk in this drink. It won't be the same. You want something thick and creamy to get the correct result.
Coconut cream is slightly opaque and runny (almost like a syrup consistency) at room temperature, but once you chill it it will be completely opaque white and thicker (more spoonable than pourable). If you have leftover coconut cream you can throw it in a blender with pineapple juice, rum, and ice and make piña coladas!
How to make it
This Painkiller recipe features pineapple juice, dark rum, orange juice, and coconut cream. Freshly grated nutmeg is the final touch. I use nutmeg purchased from Grenada on a Southern Caribbean Cruise on the Disney Wonder.
The basic amounts for the drink are 4 parts pineapple juice, 2 parts rum, 1 part orange juice, and 1 part cream of coconut. It's easiest to measure out that number of fluid ounces, but you can multiply the recipe using this guideline to make bigger drinks.
Add your juices, rum, and coconut to a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake vigorously. Pour it into a glass filled halfway with ice, and top with freshly grated nutmeg. You may also garnish with a pineapple wedge and/or an orange wedge or slice.
You can make a pitcher of Painkillers instead of shaking individual drinks if you plan on serving a crowd. Simply multiply the recipe by your chosen number of drinks. Just be sure to stir vigorously. Also stir again if the mixture sits for any period of time, because it will separate.
Tropical recipes to serve with your Painkiller
- Jamaican Beef Patties
- Jerk Chicken Wings
- Mojo Pork with Black Beans, Cilantro Rice and Pickled Red Onions
- Jerk Chicken Pasta
- Hoisin Baby Back Ribs
- Hawaiian Loco Moco
- Caribbean Curried Rice Pilaf with Citrus
- Curried Tomato Salad
- Pastelitos de Queso y Guayaba (Guava and Cheese Pastries)
- Guava Bars
- Mango Tarte Tatin
- Browse all Caribbean Recipes
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- 4 ounces pineapple juice
- 2 ounces dark rum (traditionally Pusser's Rum)
- 1 ounce orange juice
- 1 ounce cream of coconut (coconut cream)
- Freshly grated nutmeg
- In a cocktail shaker combine pineapple juice, rum, orange juice, coconut cream over ice.
- Shake for about 10 seconds and strain into a glass filled about halfway with ice. Top with freshly grated nutmeg. Serve immediately.
- The Painkiller is the signature, trademarked cocktail of Pusser's Rum. If you don't have this brand of rum in your bar you can make it with another brand of dark rum such as Myers's Rum (my personal choice). I have also made these with spiced rum which is not traditional, but extremely delicious.
- This makes a generous sized cocktail (1 cup) but you can easily make a bigger cocktail if you want to serve it in a tall glass. Simply use 4 parts pineapple juice, 2 parts rum (you can make the drink stronger with up to 4 parts if you prefer), 1 part orange juice, and 1 part cream of coconut.
- Alternatively, to make a pitcher of painkillers, multiply quantities by however many drinks you plan to make and stir together vigorously in a pitcher. You may refrigerate the pitcher for several hours, but you will need to stir it before serving as it will separate. Serve over ice.
- A 15-ounce can of coconut cream is enough for 10 Painkillers. A 46-fluid ounce can of pineapple juice is enough for 11 cocktails (or make 10 and drink the rest of the juice as is).
*All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more.*