Painkillers in glasses with orange and cherry garnish.

Painkiller Cocktail

Admittedly, while you were all out stocking up for the coronavirus by buying toilet paper at the grocery store, I was buying alcohol. No shortages there. Beer. Wine. Rum. All of it. Don’t judge. We all have our priorities. And as for those of you that just became “home-schoolers” …you may not need this today. But you will soon enough.

When I originally found this drink, I was looking for something to run as a weekly special for my restaurant. I came across all kinds of fun combinations and new liquors. They were almost always a hit with guests, and almost always too strong for my taste.

But then…oh, my. I don’t even like rum, so I was shocked at how delicious this drink is. Don’t worry, I have had a few to make sure the recipe is just right. 😜

Make a Painkiller Cocktail tonight!

The origins of the Painkiller are pretty well documented. There was a lady making them in the 1970’s on an island in the Caribbean. Word of her delicious concoction spread. When the founder of Pusser’s Rum tried it, he asked repeatedly for the recipe. But she wouldn’t give it up. He walked a drink from the bar back to his boat – that was the only way to get it there since there were no docks on the island – where he experimented until he figured out the right combination of juices and rum. He brought his version back for her regular customers to try. It was a little less sweet than the original and they all thought his was better. A legend was born.

Hence, if you ask anybody at the Pusser’s Rum Company, they’ll say a true Painkiller can only be made with their Navy Rum. Luckily, I’ve always been a bit of a rule breaker, so I made it with what I could find. What it should be made with is full strength (about 80 proof) dark rum, whatever the brand. Tiki umbrellas optional.

The recipe usually calls for 2 ounces of rum per drink, but it can be increased up to 4 ounces, depending on the day you’ve had, the company you keep and your tolerance level. Or how many arguments you’ve had with your 12-year-old about the virtues of turning off the video games and getting outside during “the virus”. Oops, that might just be me.

In any case, since most of us can’t be on an island in the Caribbean soaking in the sunshine any time soon, make a pitcher of these, get your neighbors to drag over a lawn chair (keeping their six feet of #socialdistancing, of course) and pretend this is just an extended vacation. It is, after all, Friday.

Get out the ice and start shaking! See the recipe for Painkiller Cocktails below!

Painkiller Cocktail

Recipe by CandaceCourse: DrinksCuisine: CaribbeanDifficulty: Easy


Prep time



These fruity, tropical drinks will transport you right to a sunny beach in the Caribbean! You can also make a non-alcoholic version by substituting iced tea for the rum.


  • 2 oz dark rum, traditionally Pusser’s but I used Gosling’s with excellent results (can increase amount up to 4 oz)

  • 4 oz pineapple juice

  • 1 oz orange juice

  • 1 oz cream of coconut, I used Coco Lopez

  • Fresh ground nutmeg, optional

  • Fresh pineapple, fresh orange slices and/or maraschino cherries for garnish


  • Fill large metal shaker with ice. Add rum, pineapple juice, orange juice and cream of coconut. Shake vigorously (your hands should be burning and there should be a thin layer of ice on the outside of the container).
  • Pour into glass filled with fresh ice.
  • Add a grate or two of fresh nutmeg over the top, if desired, then garnish with whatever fruit you have on hand. Or a tiki umbrella. Or nothing at all. Who are we kidding, it’ll still be delicious without the extra tchotchkes.


  • I love, love, love this drink. So I don’t bother making them one at a time. I simply increase the amounts of each item by the number of people drinking them and fill up a pitcher. Then you or your guests can just add ice to a shaker and mix to order.
  • I rarely use the nutmeg. It does add a lovely herbal note to balance all the sweetness, but if you don’t have a whole nutmeg to grind fresh on demand, I recommend leaving it out all together.
  • As mentioned above, you can make this kiddo-friendly by substituting iced tea for the rum. Not the same effect, but still delicious!


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