The Painkiller cocktail is already promising a lot with a name like that. Health claims and cures aside, we think it’s going to be your new favourite summer rum drink. Piña Cowho?

Painkiller cocktail: the history

We don’t want to shun the Piña Colada too much – the Painkiller is a twist on the tropical classic after all. Made with dark rum, pineapple juice, orange juice, and coconut cream, its origins go back to the 1970s in the British Virgin Islands. Specifically, the Soggy Dollar Bar.

Soggy Dollar Bar

The Soggy Dollar Bar

The Soggy Dollar gets its name because thirsty visitors have to arrive by boat and anchor just off the beach. To get a famous Painkiller, you’ve got to swim for it, with you (and the dollars in your shorts) arriving… well, pretty soggy. 

The very first iteration of the drink is attributed to Englishwoman Daphne Henderson, the owner of Soggy Dollar at the time. Word spread far beyond the small island bar, to none other than Pusser’s founder Charles Tobias. He tried it, loved it, and set about recreating the drink himself.

Despite becoming friends with Henderson, Tobias never managed to get the exact recipe from her. Having thought he cracked her proportions (he hadn’t), a 4-1-1-1 ratio of pineapple, coconut cream, and orange juice (with however much Pusser’s rum was ‘needed’), he made it for Henderson and the bar patrons. Allegedly, those patrons preferred his version to Henderson’s, and so that then became the recipe for the Painkiller.

Painkiller cocktail

The Painkiller Cocktail

Just like Goslings Black Seal and the Dark ‘n’ Stormy, Pusser’s managed to trademark the Painkiller cocktail in the 1980s. A high strength dark rum like Pusser’s ‘Gunpowder Proof’ Black Label also works particularly well here, standing up to all the tropical creamy sweetness.

It might not sound like much of a happy ending for Henderson, but the good news is that Tobias has always given her – and the bar – credit for the inspiration. And the Soggy Dollar is still the number one destination for the cocktail to this day 

Painkiller cocktail recipe

Prep time: 5 minutes

Makes 1 serving

You’ll need:

  • 60ml Pusser’s Rum
  • 120ml pineapple juice
  • 30ml orange juice
  • 30ml coconut cream
  • Whole nutmeg to grate on top


  1. Combine all ingredients into the shaker.
  2. Shake over ice.
  3. Strain into an ice-filled, tall-ish glass (a Highball will do, as would a mule mug).
  4. Grate your nutmeg over the top, serve, and enjoy!