Painkiller Cocktail Recipe

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Painkiller Nutrition Facts






Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 7, 2024


The Painkiller cocktail was created in the 1970s at the Soggy Dollar Bar in the British Virgin Islands. It quickly gained popularity among sailors and tourists, and has since become a staple in tropical bars around the world. The Painkiller is a favorite among those who enjoy fruity, tropical drinks with a hint of spice.

  • Originally created in the British Virgin Islands
  • Popular among sailors and tourists
  • A staple in tropical bars around the world

How Painkiller Tastes?

The Painkiller cocktail is a delightful mix of sweet, tangy, and slightly spicy flavors. The combination of pineapple and orange juices creates a fruity base, while the coconut cream adds a rich, creamy sweetness. The dark rum provides a strong, warming backbone, and the freshly grated nutmeg on top adds a subtle hint of spice.

Interesting facts about Painkiller

  • The Painkiller is often considered the official cocktail of the British Virgin Islands
  • The name 'Painkiller' is trademarked by Pusser's Rum, which is the original rum used in the cocktail
  • There are four official variations of the Painkiller, with each version increasing the amount of rum


Dark Rum

Dark rum is the backbone of the Painkiller, providing a rich, deep flavor with hints of molasses and spices. It harmonizes with the tropical notes of the other ingredients. Using less can make the cocktail too mild, while more can overpower the delicate balance.

Emma Rose

Pineapple Juice

Pineapple juice brings a tropical sweetness and tartness that is quintessential to the Painkiller. It also adds a silky texture. Skimping on pineapple juice would make the cocktail less fruity and vibrant.

Alex Green

Orange Juice

The orange juice offers a citrusy zing that cuts through the sweetness, balancing the drink. Too little, and you miss the bright notes; too much, and it can become too acidic.

Mary Mitkina

Coconut Cream

Coconut cream adds a velvety smoothness and coconut flavor that screams 'tropical paradise'. If left out, you'd lose the creamy mouthfeel and depth of flavor. More can make the drink too heavy.

Emma Rose

Freshly Grated Nutmeg

A pinch of nutmeg adds an aromatic complexity that elevates the cocktail. Without it, the Painkiller might taste flat. It's the final flourish that ties everything together.

Alex Green

Recipe. How to make Painkiller Drink

  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice
  2. Add the dark rum, pineapple juice, orange juice, and coconut cream
  3. Shake well until chilled and combined
  4. Strain the mixture into a glass filled with crushed ice
  5. Top with a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  6. Garnish with a pineapple wedge and a maraschino cherry

Pro Tips

  • Shake the cocktail well to ensure all ingredients are well combined
  • Use freshly squeezed juices for a more authentic taste
  • Chill the glass before serving to keep the cocktail cold for longer

Perfect Pairings

Food Pairings

  • Grilled Seafood: The tropical flavors of the Painkiller cocktail complement the charred, smoky flavor of grilled shrimp or fish.
  • Spicy Dishes: Balance the heat of Thai or Caribbean cuisine with the sweet, refreshing notes of the cocktail.
  • Fruit Salads: Enjoy with a fresh fruit salad that echoes the citrus and pineapple flavors in the drink.
  • BBQ: The sweetness of the Painkiller can cut through the richness of barbecued meats.

Drink Pairings

  • Cold Brew Coffee: For a non-alcoholic option, the bitterness of cold brew can offset the sweetness of the Painkiller.
  • Beer: A crisp, light lager can cleanse the palate between sips of this sweet cocktail.

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What you could change in Painkiller

  • Dark Rum: Can be replaced with light rum for a milder flavor
  • Pineapple Juice: Mango juice can be used for a different tropical twist
  • Coconut Cream: Coconut milk can be used as a lighter alternative

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And of course - twists🍹

Spiced Painkiller

  • Substitute dark rum with spiced rum: Use spiced rum to add extra warmth and depth.
  • Add a splash of ginger beer: This gives the drink a spicy kick and some effervescence.

The taste will be more complex with a slightly spicy and fizzy twist, perfect for those who like their tropical drinks with a bit more character.

Coco-Lime Painkiller

  • Add 1/2 oz of fresh lime juice: The lime juice introduces a sharp tanginess.
  • Garnish with toasted coconut flakes: Adds texture and a roasted flavor.

This variant offers a zesty, sharper edge, complementing the creamy coconut, and the roasted garnish provides a fun crunch and nutty aroma.

Virgin Painkiller

  • Dark rum substitute with non-alcoholic dark rum alternative or more pineapple juice: To make it non-alcoholic.
  • Use a cinnamon stick for garnish: Gives an alcohol-free aromatic experience. The non-alcoholic version maintains the tropical flair and creaminess but is suitable for all ages and occasions.

In case you forgot basics how to make Painkiller

Add your ingredients to the shaker first, then ice. Fill it up to ¾ of its capacity to ensure enough space for shaking. Hold the shaker with both hands (one on the top and one on the bottom) and shake vigorously. The shake should come from your shoulders, not your wrists.

Learn everything on how to shake

Place your chosen strainer on top of the shaker or mixing glass, ensuring a secure fit. Pour the cocktail into a glass through the strainer, which will catch solid ingredients and ice. If double straining, hold the fine mesh strainer between the shaker and the glass.

Learn everything on how to strain

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

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Frequently Asked Questions on Painkiller

Is this cocktail sweet or sour?

The Painkiller cocktail is generally sweet due to the combination of pineapple, orange juice and coconut cream. However, it does have a slight tang due to the citrus ingredients.

Is there any specific type of rum that should be used?

While the original recipe calls for Dark Rum, variations of the cocktail can be made using any type of rum to suit individual taste preferences.

Can I drink this cocktail if I'm allergic to nuts?

The Painkiller cocktail does have a layer of freshly grated nutmeg. If you are allergic to nuts, it's advisable to skip this ingredient.

What type of glass is best to serve this cocktail in?

This cocktail is traditionally served in a tall, curvy hurricane glass. However, any tall glass can be used.

How strong is this cocktail?

The strength of this cocktail largely depends on the quantity and type of rum used. Commonly, with 2oz of Dark rum, the alcohol percentage can be around 14%.

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