Friday Night Cocktail: Painkiller
In a Canadian winter, it’s sometimes fun to mix up a tropical concoction to briefly ease the pain of these dark, snowy months. Few things transport you from white snowdrifts to white sandy beaches as quickly as a glass filled with fruit juice and rum. And sometimes the name even fits the condition, as is the case with the Painkiller.
The Painkiller is one of a handful of cocktails whose name is trademarked by a rum brand. In practice, this means that if you’re making it with a different brand of rum, you can’t call it by that name. The same is true of the Dark ‘n Stormy (must be made with Gosling’s rum) and – somewhat more defensibly – the Bacardi Cocktail (must be made with Bacardi rum, naturally). A Painkiller is a Painkiller only if it’s made with Pusser’s rum. (This fact caused a bit of a headache for a certain bar in Manhattan last year, following an action which the company defended.)
In fact, the drink predates the trademark by more than a decade, having been invented in 1971 at the Soggy Dollar bar in the British Virgin Islands (and according to Beachbum Berry, it wasn’t made with Pusser’s at the time). Of course, you can make the drink with another brand and change the name (I like “Analgesic”), and it may even be as good as, if not better than, the official version. And of course, in the privacy of your own home, you’re unlikely to be pursued by the intellectual property police.
While we’re talking variations, I recently made one with blood orange juice in place of the regular orange juice, which gave the drink a lovely pink hue. What you will need is a can of cream of coconut; in U.S. bar books, the most commonly cited brand is Coco Lopez, but I have never seen it for sale in Canada. It’s the same stuff you’d use in a Piña Colada, and can usually be found in the drinks section of your grocery store, though it seems to be growing more uncommon these days. The brand I used was called “Coco Colada.”
How to make a Painkiller cocktail
- 2 ounces Pusser’s Navy Rum
- 1 ounce cream of coconut
- 2 ounces pineapple juice
- 1 ounce orange juice
- Fresh grated nutmeg (not optional)
Combine all ingredients except nutmeg in a cocktail shaker and shake well. Pour – don’t strain – into a tall glass, and add more ice to fill. Grate some nutmeg on top.