The painkiller cocktail garnished with a pineapple wedge

Painkiller cocktail recipe: the British Virgin Islands’ signature drink

Laura Danforth

Contributing writer

The Painkiller cocktail is a tasty rum concoction that’s both fruity and spiced. Sometimes likened to a Piña Colada, it’s a mix of dark rum, pineapple juice, orange juice, and cream of coconut. The spice comes from a sprinkling of nutmeg on top.

The history of the drink goes back to the 1970s in the British Virgin Islands. George and Marie Myrick opened the Soggy Dollar bar on a deserted stretch of beach on Jost Van Dyke. Why the Soggy Dollar? Well, it got its name because there’s no dock. So, if you want a beverage, you have to swim for it and pay with your water-logged dollars.

The painkiller cocktail garnished with a pineapple wedge

George and Marie wanted to create a house drink for the bar and started experimenting. They found just the right combination of rum, juice, and creamy coconut. You might think the name comes from its reputation as a hangover cure. But the Myrick’s named it after the Noni fruit plant, a local bush that was used as a Polynesian cure-all.

The original recipe used Mount Gay or Cruzan Gold rum. But Charles Tobias, the founder of Pusser’s Rum, made the drink famous with his slightly less sweet recreation using Pusser’s Original Admiralty Blend (Blue Label).

To make the tastiest version of this drink, use freshly squeezed pineapple and orange juice. And make sure you get cream of coconut, not coconut cream (they are not the same thing!).


  • 60 ml dark rum
  • 120 ml pineapple juice
  • 30 ml orange juice
  • 30 ml cream of coconut
  • ice
  • fresh nutmeg
  • pineapple wedge, for garnish


  1. 1
    Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
  2. 2
    Add the rum, pineapple juice, orange juice, and cream of coconut to the cocktail shaker.
  3. 3
    Shake to combine and chill ingredients.
  4. 4
    Strain into a glass filled with ice.
  5. 5
    Grate nutmeg on top and garnish with a pineapple wedge.

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Laura Danforth

Author - Laura Danforth

Laura is wine and food blogger based in Boston, Massachusetts. She is WSET Level 2 Certified in wine and has travelled to 30 countries and 24 US states.

Last Updated 12 October 2022