Ever wanted to have a Piña Colada for adults? In comes the Painkiller, the bigger and badder version. It’s a drink so tasty that it will catch you off guard with its strength. Unsuspectingly, the Painkiller goes down so smoothly that you won’t even notice the strength. Cocktail experts know, finding the perfect rum to mix in is half the fun. No worries, since making a bad Painkiller is nearly impossible.

The Painkiller is one of the most popular tiki cocktails, sadly often confused for a Piña Colada, but there is a big difference.

A Painkiller is typically served over ice with pineapple, coconut, orange, and that fantastic rum. The fruity blend makes it perfect for a nice sunny day.

Traditionally, Pusser’s Rum is the top choice to mix as they trademarked the recipe in the 1980s and made it a little sweeter by increasing the amount of pineapple juice. This is definitely one of those cocktails where your personal preference matters, the only thing you have to absolutely abide by is the rum.

Original Admiralty Blend and British Royal Navy Imperial Rum are all great options. Weighing in at 10 percent ABV (20 proof) it may not seem like much but if we have taught you anything is that unassuming sweet drinks with a fine spirit tend to be dangerous.

If a navy rum isn’t available, any full-bodied dark rum should do. It’s all about discovering the combination that works best for you. You could even mix in multiple types of rum.

A Brief History-

The Painkiller isn’t too old in age, it was born in thee 1970s at a very oddly named bar…

Created at Daphne Henderson’s Soggy Dollar Bar, which was a hotspot in the British Virgin Islands. So why the name?

This location had no dock, causing patrons to swim to shore. That would get their money wet, inspiring one of the most unique bar names ever. The Painkiller quickly became the most popular drink at the Soggy Dollar Bar.

At first, the recipe was a secret, but customers didn’t care. They loved the taste and the Painkiller became famous on the island. In 1979, the founder of Pusser’s Rum, Charles Tobias, befriended Henderson. He unsuccessfully attempted to figure out the secret recipe, but still recreated the drink almost perfectly. In fact, most patrons preferred his less sweet version. Tobias trademarked it as Pusser’s Painkiller, which became a modern cocktail classic.

Bartenders all over the world were mixing Painkillers and they were beloved everywhere. All was well until two brothers in New York City opened a tiki bar called Painkiller where they offered the drink with a rum other than Pusser’s.

It sparked a lawsuit that led to the bar having to change its name. The bartending community was up in arms, questioning whether anyone should be able to trademark a cocktail. Around 2010, other bartenders showed support to the NYC establishment. They boycotted Pusser’s rum and heavily promoted the drink with any other rum.


Random Fact-

At Pusser’s Caribbean Grille in Annapolis, the famous “Million Dollar” version of the Painkiller is wildly popular.

In a single year, nearly 150,000 of them were served. Guess Maryland loves their Tiki cocktails!

With so many tiki cocktail options out there, making a decision is difficult. Luckily, the Painkiller has proven itself to be a timeless drink that works because it is both delicious and versatile, and it’s not a Piña Colada.

Let us know if you try our recipe! Thanks for reading, and as always…

Cheers from,

Happy Hour City