AKA the Painkiller, this Tiki drink will soothe your soul
So it’s July, and both major US political parties are staging their presidential nominating conventions. It’s been a bizarre political season. Plus, the weather is miserably hot throughout much of the country. We need a drink.
Enter Pusser’s Painkiller. This refreshing, rum-based slow-sipper is a perfect summer cocktail.
So mix yourself one. Or two – you shouldn’t suffer through this alone.
Recipe: Pusser’s Painkiller Cocktail
Pusser’s Painkiller combines dark rum with unsweetened pineapple juice, OJ, and coconut cream. It tastes quite a bit like a Piña Colada, but with hint of orange.
Before you mix yourself one of these beauties, we should mention that Pusser’s is a brand of rum – and the company has trademarked this cocktail’s name. So legally, a “Painkiller” is supposed to be made only with Pusser’s brand rum. We’ve heard, however, that any good-quality dark rum works in this drink. Not that we’d know, of course.
This recipe takes about 5 minutes to make, and serves 1.
- 2 ounces Pusser’s rum (see Notes)
- 4 ounces unsweetened pineapple juice (some people prefer 2 or 3 ounces)
- 1 ounce coconut cream (Coco López is our brand of choice, but any coconut cream will work)
- 1 ounce freshly squeezed orange juice (use bottled if you must)
- freshly grated nutmeg for garnish (traditional, but we often skip this; optional)
- orange wedge and/or maraschino cherry for garnish (not traditional, but festive; optional)
- Pour all the ingredients (except garnish) into a cocktail shaker half-filled with ice. Shake well until thoroughly chilled (20 seconds or so).
- Strain into a tall glass (we like to use a hurricane glass) filled with ice.
- Sprinkle grated nutmeg on top (if using) or garnish with an orange wedge and/or a maraschino cherry (if using), and serve.
- The nutmeg garnish is traditional, but it doesn’t do much for us. So we generally skip it.
- A pineapple wedge would also make a good garnish.
- Pineapple juice often is sold in packs of 6-ounce cans. We like to use these small cans for cocktails so we don’t have to open a large container just for a couple of drinks.
- Some variations of this drink use 3 or 4 ounces of rum. Too much, we say. (Though we have to admit that, true to the drink’s name, you’d be feeling no pain after downing a couple.)
- As noted above, Pusser’s is a brand of rum. The company didn’t invent the original Painkiller cocktail, though – that was done by Daphne Henderson in the 1970s. It became the signature drink at her Soggy Dollar Bar in the British Virgin Islands.
- But Pusser’s trademarked the “Painkiller” cocktail name in the 1980s.
- Of course, any good brand of dark rum will work perfectly well in this concoction. Just call the resulting drink by a different name. A Pang Chaser, anyone?
- So where did the name “Pusser” originate? Well, in years past, British sailors got a ration of rum every day. This ration was dispensed by the ship’s purser (later corrupted to “pusser”).
- The rum that sailors received was called, appropriately, “navy rum.” It usually contained a blend of rums from various islands in the West Indies. The result was a spirit with a strong, lively flavor.
- In 1979, Charles Tobias obtained blending rights for the British Admiralty’s navy rum recipe. He formed Pusser’s Ltd. and began distilling his rum.
- Tobias discovered the Painkiller Cocktail at the Soggy Dollar Bar, and loved it. But Daphne Henderson wouldn’t divulge the recipe. So he tinkered with the drink at home until he came up with a formula that he thought was pretty good.
- According to the folks at Pusser’s, Tobias then challenged patrons of the Soggy Dollar Bar to a taste test, comparing Henderson’s version of the drink to his own. Tobias’s drink was a bit less sweet, and the patrons voted it the winner. Tobias used Pusser’s Rum in his version, of course.
“Tasty libation,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “Helps take my mind off the political madness.”
“Yup, politics can often be strange,” I said. “But this has become world-class weird.”
“Glad we have a medicinal drink,” said Mrs K R. “So how did the Soggy Dollar Bar get its name?”
“Well, it was on a really small island that was hard to access,” I said. “The bar was right on the beach, with no dock nearby. A lot of the bar’s patrons were boaters, so they had to drop anchor and swim to the beach.”
“Ah,” said Mrs K R. “I get it. By the time they made it to the bar, their money was soaked from the swim.”
“Exactly,” I said. “As a convenience, the bar had a clothes line where people could pin up their soggy dollars to dry.”
“Worth swimming against the tide if there’s one of these waiting for you on shore,” said Mrs K R.
“And it provides a built-in cure for sore muscles,” I said.
Mrs K R glanced at her phone. “Ah, jeez, yet another convention speech,” she said. “Mix us another round, quick.”
“Coming right up,” I answered. “I feel your pain.”
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