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The Painkiller cocktail is like a piña colada…but better! This tropical pineapple drink features aged rum, cream of coconut and orange.

Painkiller cocktail

Do you love piña coladas? Then you absolutely must try the Painkiller cocktail! This 1970’s tropical drink is a spin on the classic piña colada starring aged rum, cream of coconut, and pineapple and orange juice. Top it off with a little grated nutmeg, and wow! We raised our eyebrows in appreciation after the first sip of this one. It’s fruity, tropical, and irresistibly good.

What’s in a Painkiller cocktail?

The Painkiller cocktail was invented in the 1970’s in the British Virgin Islands at a bar called Soggy Dollar Bar. It was originally made with Pusser’s Rum, a type of rum made using the British Royal Navy recipe. The drink was trademarked in the 1980’s, so if it’s included on a menu it must include the traditional Pusser’s Rum. If you’re making it at home, you can use any type of aged or dark rum! Here are the ingredients you need for a Painkiller cocktail:

  • Aged rum (Pusser’s Rum is traditional)
  • Pineapple juice
  • Cream of coconut (not coconut cream!)
  • Orange juice
  • Grated nutmeg

The most important thing about these ingredients: make sure to buy “cream of coconut,” not coconut cream. What’s the difference?

Painkiller cocktail

Use cream of coconut (not coconut cream)

Here’s the most important thing to know about the Painkiller cocktail: use cream of coconut, not coconut cream. They sound the same, but there’s an important difference between two:

  • Cream of coconut is a sweetened syrup for drinks! It consists of coconut cream with lots of sugar added. Because it’s used in drinks, it’s sold in handy squeeze bottles. Cream of coconut is easy to find online or at your local liquor store. A popular brand is Coco Real.
  • Coconut cream is unsweetened: it’s very thick and has a strong coconut flavor. Coconut cream is made from chilling coconut milk and then skimming off the layer of cream that floats to the top. It’s typically sold in cans next to the coconut milk.
  • Want more with cream of coconut? Try popular coconut cocktails like the Piña Colada, Painkiller, Coconut Martini or Bushwacker!

What if you accidentally buy coconut cream for the Painkiller? You can save your drink! Use ½ ounce coconut cream and ¾ ounce simple syrup.

Aged rum is essential

Many rum cocktails use white rum or dark rum. But the Painkiller cocktail uses a whole other category of this liquor: aged rum or golden rum! Aging rum for a few years gives it a complex flavor. Golden rum can have notes of vanilla, coconut, almond, citrus, or caramel. The aged rum that we used here was Brugal Añejo Rum.

Can’t find golden or aged rum or don’t have it on hand? You can substitute dark rum and the drink will work. You can also use white rum, but it’s not quite the same. It does work in a pinch!

Aged rum

Top off a Painkiller with grated nutmeg

It’s a minor detail, but the garnish of this drink really does take it over the top! For the Painkiller, buy whole nutmeg and use a microplane or grater to grate a little on top. Nutmeg has a warm, aromatic flavor with undertones of clove. It’s absolutely essential here!

Other drinks that use grated nutmeg on top? The Milk Punch or Brandy Alexander: two creamy drinks that are similarly delicious.

More pineapple cocktails

There are so many more great cocktails starring pineapple juice! Once you buy a jug for this recipe, you’ll simply have to make more! Here are some of our favorite tropical pineapple cocktails:

Painkiller cocktail

When to serve a Painkiller cocktail

The Painkiller cocktail is a tasty spin on the pina colada! It’s great as a:

  • Summer drink
  • Happy hour drink
  • Dinner party drink
  • Signature cocktail
  • Bridal shower drink or bachelorette party drink
  • Girls night drink
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Classic Painkiller Cocktail

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x


The Painkiller cocktail is like a piña colada…but better! This tropical pineapple drink features aged rum, cream of coconut and orange.


  • 2 ½ ounces* aged rum (Pusser’s Rum is traditional)
  • 4 ounces pineapple juice
  • 1 ounce cream of coconut (not coconut cream! here’s why.)
  • 1 ounce orange juice
  • Ice, for serving (try clear ice!)
  • For the garnish: grated nutmeg, cocktail cherry


  1. Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake with ice.
  2. Stain into an ice-filled highball or hurricane glass. Garnish with fresh grated nutmeg and a cocktail cherry. 


*To convert to tablespoons, multiply the ounces by 2 (½ ounce = 1 tablespoon). 

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Shaken
  • Cuisine: Cocktails
  • Diet: Vegan

Keywords: Painkiller cocktail

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. You did so great explaining the difference in alcohol in the recipe and and why. Thank you so much for that! Great recipe I love it!

  2. I love this one.

    Can I just say, this is one of the best websites I’ve seen for expert guidance on everything. Lol

    Thanks guys xx