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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I will refrain from any political comments, but I would gladly vote for this drink. I think we all merit a round of these this political season.....
We're wine drinkers, but your concoctions always make me want to reconsider. Great back-stories!
best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com
Hi Debra, yup, Painkillers all around! :-) Definitely much needed. Thanks for the comment.
Hi Mae, we're wine drinkers too, but got into cocktails because of the stories. And then discovered how good they taste! Thanks for the comment.
John, this looks so refreshing! I will never give up my wine but I could get into this cocktail to ease the pain :)
This looks so refreshing... I will probably skip the rum and play with the ingredients more :). And yes indeed it is a crazy hot summer.Thanks.
Hi Pat, we love wine, too, but do enjoy a cocktail now and again. And again. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Amira, this is a drink where I think you could easily skip the booze. Maybe add a touch more cream of coconut in that case? Definitely it'd be fun to experiment! Thanks for the comment.
LOL... what a funny name for a cocktail! But with pineapple juice and Coco Lopez in it, who would say no to it?
Hi Denise, it is a funny name, isn't it? Nothing funny about its flavor, though! :-) Thanks for the comment.
I need a few of these a day until this is all over. Good grief! :)
Even though I rarely have cocktails I could use a few right now to ease the pain watching political TV. Prost John!
You had me at COCONUT CREAM!
Hi Lea Ann, yup. Definitely feel your pain. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Gerlinde, yeah, it's weird, isn't it? Truly. Trust me. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi GiGi, coconut has such good flavor, doesn't it? Love it! Thanks for the comment.
oooooohhhhhh...the Pusser's Painkiller. Had one too many of these in the Bahamas. oops. ;)
Hi Pamela, these are smooooth drinks! I can see how it'd be easy to have one too many. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Oh YUM John, this is my kind of drink. Sounds utterly refreshing to me. This one I will make! I have a bit of a sweet tooth and a fan of coconut and pineapple so this will definitely hit the spot.
Hi Vicki, you'll like this one -- very refreshing flavor. It's good even without the booze! Thanks for the comment.
I will have two of these please. So refreshing . I want to go Hawaii or may be save money and just have this instead?
Hi Ansh, two coming up! Much cheaper just to make these and pretend you're in Hawaii. Although probably not as much fun. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Perfect timing for a painkiller... and the politics will likely gain intensity too! A tasty drink that takes us away to the British Virgin Islands is just what we all need!
OH I love the name painkiller cocktail! This drink looks so beautiful.
The painkiller sounds like the perfect drink for all the crazy stuff happening now, great info and post John.
You never fail to make me smile - but today I laughed. Thanks for the lovely drink recipe and the funnies. We recently disconnected our home phone (only cell phones now) and just in the nick of time! I could not bear the political phone calls this year. What a mess - but I have rum!
Hi Deb, it'd be lovely to visit the Virgin Islands at the moment, wouldn't it? :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Peachy, it IS a fun name, isn't it? Thanks for the comment.
Hi Cheri, tons of crazy stuff at the moment, alas. This drink makes it all better. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Tricia, those calls can be so bothersome, can't they? I get some junk calls on my cell, but not too many. Thanks for the comment.
Bahaha, But does it still act like a like a pain killer if I drink too many?? This looks so pretty, and sweet. I know I would love it.
Thanks for sharing
Hi Julie, good question! I'll bet this would make a good hair-of-the-dog drink. :-) Thanks for the comment.
This drink looks very inviting. I agree with you it has been an incredible Election season and very hot. So this one looks so refreshing. I think Pusser’s Painkiller is one I would try. I do love Pina Coladas and if you think this one tastes like it I will have to try this one.also love the flavor of orange. Thanks for sharing and for all such great information, always something to learn...Have a great week...
Hi Dottie, this really tastes a lot like a Pina Colada, but with orange. So I know you'll like it! Thanks for the comment.
What a beautiful name and gorgeous drink. Looks so delicious and refreshing! Thank you for lovely share :-)
I was intrugied at the name! Painkiller cocktail? Now, who wouldn't love to grab that stunning looking glass? This looks so refreshing. Although its not very hot here, but I still want to taste this beauty! Would love to give it a go over this weekend!
Hi Kushi, this really is pretty, isn't it? And totally tasty! Thanks for the comment.
Hi Anu, this is a wonderful weekend drink -- it's a big drink, so it takes awhile to get through one. Thanks for the comment.
After the day I've had I will happily take anything called a painkiller. Another computer dead after just over two years. Oh well.
I think we will all need to down a few of those before this election season is done. LOL
Hi Laura, hate it when I have computer problems. We always have at least one backup (an older computer that still works) just in case. But yes, you need one of these! Thanks for the comment.
Hi Carolyn, yup. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I like that it's called a painkiller cocktail!
What fun!!! I love Coco Lopez. It's supposed to be 105 degrees all weekend so I'm off to buy these ingredients!!! thanks.
Hi Carolyn, fun name, isn't it? :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Mimi, we're not going to be quite that hot, but close -- we'll be right around 100. More Coco Lopez! Thanks for the comment.
Haha! These should help us all get through the onslaught of election coverage. Stay cool!!!
Hi Liz, we should have included a recipe for a pitcher of these. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I was immersed in political commentary today (or something) and I NEED a cocktail! This would work nicely thank you! I just made a Pina Colada and it had orange juice too...I love that addition. I NEED a drink; my head is hurting. :)
At this stage of the political season cocktails are definitely in order. like the idea of of OJ in a Pina Colada -- fun! Thanks for the comment.
What a wonderful drink! It's definitely hot up here in Canada, and this looks like a tasty way to cool down. (P.S. I must admit I'm hooked on your political conventions.)
Hi Beth, over 100 here today -- hot! Thanks for the comment.
You know, I'm taking August off. I'm thinking I just may spend the time working my way through your drink menu. They all sound so delicious!
Hi Jeff, sounds like a great use of your time! :D Thanks for the comment.
I love rum and tiki drinks! Sipping a couple of these while floating in a pool would make for a pretty perfect summer day.
Hi Lisa, this is a perfect pool drink -- really tasty, and loads of volume so it takes awhile to get through. Thanks for the comment.
What a lovely drink! This really makes the heat bearable!
Hi Mary, this is a fun one! And very refreshing -- perfect for hot weather. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I love Pina coladas so I'm sure I would love this. I'm also sure the hint of Orange is amazing. I agree we could all use one of these this summer!
Hi Ashley, the orange in this is really nice! And yes, we can all use one of these. :-) Thanks for the comment.
This drink surprised me, John. Given the name, I wasn't expecting a fruit juice cocktail but something along the lines of an Old Fashioned. Then again, so long as it ives up to its name, what's the difference? I should start auditioning cocktails. I may need a good one come the first Wednesday morning in November.
Hi John, I was a bit surprised at the contents vs. the name, too. But it's a really good one. And we have some ideas we're working on for a November cocktail. :-) Thanks for the comment.
That looks dangerously delicious, I guess I can drink a lot of those without knowing I am drunk already
Hi Raymund, it is! And you do have to be careful for just that reason -- these go down really easily. But they're also big drinks (in terms of volume), so they take time to drink. Thanks for the comment.
Perfect drink to get us through these dog days of summer, John. And call me a masochist, but I've been watching both conventions! I love citrusy, coconutty, rummy drinks. And this one looks delish! (And I bet that navy rum...blended from all the islands...was awesome!). Thanks for sharing....it's just what I needed! :)
Hi Anne, you're a masochist! :D And navy rum is fun stuff -- it has a LOT of flavor. Thanks for the comment.
Pineapple, orange and coconut = yes please! This is a Summer hit!
Hi Pamela, great combo of flavors, isn't it? And SO refreshing. :-) Thanks for the comment.
This drink looks fabulous John, I like the idea of pina colada with a hint of orange...great and very refreshing!
Thanks for the recipe...hope you are having a lovely week :)
Hi Julian, isn't this an interesting combo of flavors? Really fun! Thanks for the comment.
Didn't want to miss this one! A pusser, eh? Seems perfect for putzers, which is what this election seems to be turning into!
Hi Abbe, LOL! This is such a strange election -- truly weird stuff happening. Luckily we have these to keep us sane. :-) Thanks for the comment.
John, my best friend Tracy loves to order a "Pain Killer" every time she goes to a certain bar here in town. I've already shared this post with her via FB, she'll be happy to have the recipe! As usual, I love all the history you share about the drink. Ugh...politics and the heads involved are just a mess this time around. I need a pitcher of this recipe! :)
Hi Marcelle, this is a fun drink! And I think we all need a pitcher. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I've been to the Soggy Dollar and when you order it there you order it as a "Painkiller 1", "...2", through to "Painkiller 5"; the number representing the amount of pain you want to kill and the ounces of Pussers added to the drink, with the rest of the mix remaining the same.
Hi Roy, thanks for the info! And how neat that you had a chance to visit the Soggy Dollar. :-) Thanks for the comment.
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