A tropical rum cocktail packed full of fruity orange flavors with one small ingredient an never make it without.
Created in 1971 at the Soggy Dollar bar in the British Virgin Islands, the Painkiller cocktail has become a somewhat of a standard.
And it is awesome.
It is my favorite Tiki/tropical style drink, and there is one tiny adjustment I'm excited to share with you that takes this recipe over the top.
The secret ingredient for the ultimate Painkiller
When you make a Painkiller you're looking for a drink packed full of vibrant fruit flavors that brings you to a tropical paradise, and there is one simple ingredient that does this perfectly...
Orange flower water!
It is an extract made from orange tree blossoms that has a delicate orange candy flavor. It makes a big difference in the finished drink giving it a unique twist that takes it from good to great.
It is so strong that you only need a few drops for each drink, 3-5 will be perfect.
You can try making the drink with and without to see for yourself.
The orange flower water I use us Nielsen Massey which you can grab HERE on Amazon (affiliate).
What rum should you use for a Painkiller?
Going by flavor you can use just about dark rum that you enjoy.
But, by law you should use Pusser's rum.
Seriously, the Painkiller is one of the few drinks that are patented (the Dark and Stormy is the other). The company trademarked the cocktail in the 1980's as Pusser's Painkiller and they don't take it very lightly.
If you serve the drink for money and it has a name similar to "Painkiller" ya best be using Pusser's.
Buuut... they probably won't come storming into your backyard BBQ for using other rums, so if you want to experiment go for it. I think it's really nice with a little Smith and Cross blended with another dark rum, but you didn't hear that from me.
Adjusting the classic Painkiller recipe
A nice sturdy 3 ounce pour of rum works for a big drink like the Painkiller.
Don't fear the rum. It tastes great (especially with all the fruit) and since this isn't a cocktail you will have many of a little extra alcohol is fine.
BONUS: If you are feeling real wild, you could try using a navy strength rum (57% alcohol) to get even more rum flavors coming through. If you go the navy strength route watch yourself...
Things can go from casual grilling party to pole dancing on the umbrella stand real fast when you're sipping Painkillers with 3 ounces of navy rum.
tweak the juices
To make the Painkiller distinctively different from the ever-popular Pina Colada I like to really highlight the citrus by adding the orange flower water (mentioned above) as well as adjusting the juice ratio more towards the orange.
Take pineapple down from the standard 4 oz pour to 3, and bump the orange juice up from 1 oz to 2.
Whenever you can try to use fresh juices, but if that isn't possible go for something not from concentrate without any added sugars.
be sure you use cream of coconut
NOT "coconut cream", "condensed coconut milk", or any of the other extensive coconut products (confusing, I know).
There are two main options many major supermarkets carry that are usually in the drink mixes section: Coco Lopez, and Real cream of coconut. Both have their own raving fans so give each a try.
And don't forget the nutmeg!
It adds an awesome smell every time you take a sip.
Painkiller Cocktail Recipe
- 2 1/2 - 3 oz Pusser's Rum
- 3 oz Pineapple Juice
- 2 oz Orange Juice
- 1 oz Cream of Coconut
- 4 drops Orange Flower Water
- Nutmeg - for garnish
- Add everything but the nutmeg to your cocktail shaker.
- Add ice and shake for about 10 seconds.
- Pour everything from the shaker into a large glass filled with crushed ice.
- Top the glass with more crushed ice, then grate fresh nutmeg over the top.
- Top with any Tiki style garnish you like and enjoy!
Share the Painkiller
This is an awesome drink to make for having a small summer party with a few friends.
A solid choice to sip while you're firing something up on the grill.
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