Painkiller: The Fascinating History Of This Carribean Cocktail
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Evocative of sunny beaches, smooth sands and velvety flavours, the Caribbean Painkiller cocktail is indeed known for its tropical appeal. Testament to the island’s cocktail legacy, the drink blends three culturally significant, locally sourced ingredients – which includes molasses for the rum, pineapples and coconuts. Inspired by another classic associated with the Caribbean – the Pina Colada, the Painkiller is sure to transport you to sun-soaked beaches. An enduring testament to the artistry and allure of Caribbean-inspired cocktails, its inception can be traced to the captivating shores of the British Virgin Islands. Seeking a refreshing departure from the pina colada in the 1970s, bartender Daphne Henderson crafted the cocktail which was meant to ‘alleviate the pain of a long day under the sun, offering a delightful respite akin to a tropical escape.’

Pina Colada To Painkiller

While blending elements from the traditional tropical cocktail, Henderson reimagined the classic recipe, while infusing it with a distinct character. The original recipe for the Painkiller harnessed the effectiveness of a few key ingredients – dark rum, pineapple juice, orange juice and coconut cream. A precise blend of these elements added to the cocktail’s unique appeal, and was enhanced further when served over ice, garnished with a touch of grated nutmeg. Its velvety texture and harmonious flavours perfectly captured the essence of living in Caribbean paradise.

The upgraded version of the pina colada rose to prominence by showcasing its humble origins at a beachfront bar, while remaining an enduring testament to the ingenuity and charm of tropical island cocktails. Creating an authentic Painkiller involves precision and quality ingredients. Find a recipe which is the perfect choice for those who want to recreate the Painkiller cocktail at home.

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  • 50 ml dark rum
  • 100 ml pineapple juice
  • 25 ml orange juice
  • 25 ml coconut cream
  • Pineapple wedge, for garnish
  • Grated nutmeg, for garnish
  • Ice cubes


  • Fill a cocktail shaker with ice cubes and pour in the rum, pineapple juice, orange juice and coconut cream.
  • Shake the ingredients vigorously for around 10-15 seconds to blend thoroughly.
  • Strain and pour into a highball or Collins glass with ice cubes.
  • Garnish with a wedge of pineapple and a sprinkle of freshly grated nutmeg.