Painkiller Cocktail

published Jul 29, 2023
Painkiller Cocktail Recipe

Dark rum, pineapple juice, orange juice, and cream of coconut come together in this tiki classic.


Prep5 minutes

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a painkiller cocktail with fruit on marble with a blue marble background
Credit: Photo: Lucy Schaeffer; Food Styling: Nicole Rufus

I’m a sucker for any tiki drink. Something about the combination of fruit, booze, and crushed ice served in a frosty glass really hits the spot — especially when it’s muggy out. I recently had my first Painkiller cocktail during a monthly date night with my husband, and it’s a new fave. 

Made with dark rum, pineapple juice, orange juice, and cream of coconut, and garnished with a dash of grated nutmeg, this refreshing tropical concoction lives up to its name — it’ll cure whatever ails you during the hot summer months. 

What Is a Painkiller Cocktail? 

Created at the Soggy Dollar Bar in the British Virgin Islands in the 1970s, the Painkiller cocktail is a tiki classic. This refreshingly fruity and slightly boozy drink is a twist on the piña colada

It contains Pusser’s rum (a dark high-proof rum that was once rationed daily to sailors in the British Royal Navy), pineapple juice, orange juice, cream of coconut, and freshly grated nutmeg on top. 

Ingredients You Need to Make a Painkiller Cocktail

  • Rum: While the drink is traditionally made with Pusser’s rum, you can use any dark rum that you like, such as Meyer’s
  • Pineapple juice: Choose one that’s made with 100% pineapple juice. Avoid any that are diluted with water and/or have added sugar. 
  • Orange juice: While it’s typical to use store-bought orange juice without pulp, I like freshly squeezed orange juice for a hit of brightness. 
  • Cream of coconut: A thicker, sweeter version of coconut cream. The two aren’t interchangeable, so you will need to pick up a can (or bottle) to make this cocktail. This recipe uses just one ounce, but you can easily use up the rest in desserts or other mixed drinks.  
  • Nutmeg: A light grating on top adds aromatic spice.  
  • Ice: You’ll need two kinds of ice to make a Painkiller: regular cubes and crushed (or pebbled) ice. The cubes are for the cocktail shaker, while the crushed ice is for the finished drink, which will keep it cold until the very end. If you have a heavy-duty canvas bag called a Lewis bag and a wooden mallet for crushing ice, use it here. Otherwise, wrap ice in a lint-free towel and smash with a hammer or meat mallet.

What’s the Difference Between a Painkiller Cocktail and a Piña Colada?

  • A Painkiller is made with dark rum, pineapple juice, orange juice, and cream of coconut.
  • A piña colada, on the other hand, has light rum (aka white or silver rum), cream of coconut, pineapple juice or blended pineapple chunks, and lime juice. 

Painkiller Cocktail Recipe

Dark rum, pineapple juice, orange juice, and cream of coconut come together in this tiki classic.

Prep time 5 minutes


Nutritional Info


  • Crushed or pebbled ice

  • 1/2

    medium orange, or 2 tablespoons store-bought orange juice without pulp

  • 4 ounces

    100% pineapple juice, such as Dole

  • 2 ounces

    dark rum or Pusser’s rum

  • 1 ounce

    cream of coconut, such as Coco Real or Coco Lopez

  • Ice

  • Freshly grated nutmeg


  1. Fill a hurricane or highball glass with crushed ice.

  2. Juice 1/2 medium orange until you have 2 tablespoons, or measure out 2 tablespoons store-bought.

  3. Place the orange juice, 4 ounces pineapple juice, 2 ounces Pusser’s rum or dark rum, and 1 ounce cream of coconut in a cocktail shaker. Fill the shaker with ice, seal, and shake until the outside of the shaker is very frosty, about 20 seconds.

  4. Pour through a fine-mesh strainer into the glass. Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg, and add a straw.