Painkiller Drink: How to Make a Painkilling, Hangover-Curing Cocktail

The Painkiller Drink is a potent mix of dark, navy rum, and tropical fruit juice that’s well known for its ability to ‘cure’ a hangover from the night before!

This morning after the night before, cocktail hails from the British Virgin Islands, where it’s officially shaken using high-end Pusser’s Rum - but don’t worry, other dark, navy rums work just as well!

It’s sweet and fruity, yet strong - perfect for a pick-me-up in the morning when you’re lying on a Caribbean beach after too many Pina Coladas. Keep reading, and discover the best way to prepare a Painkiller drink!

What’s in a painkiller drink? 

The Painkiller drink, or Painkiller cocktail, is so-called because legend has it this alcoholic beverage can cure any hangover. That’s up to you to decide, but this drink is certainly well known for being drunk the morning after a heavy night - for good or for bad!

It is believed that the British Virgin Islands is where mixed-up painkillers first came to note, and officially, the cocktail is trademarked to a specific type of local navy rum, a brand known as Pusser’s Rum. 

The essential Painkiller drink ingredients required are navy rum (Pusser’s Rum), pineapple juice, orange juice, cream of coconut, and nutmeg (With a fruit garnish of pineapple wedges, too). As you might expect, the resulting cocktail is a hearty mixture of fruity, creamy, alcoholic goodness. It’s reviving, it’s full of vitamin c, and it’s both filling and alcoholic. 

A Painkiller cocktail has to be served cold, so make sure you have an Ice ball maker on hand to prepare the purest ice you can. Pure ice keeps your cocktail more vital and undiluted for longer (and fresher and colder, too). 

Also, you’ll need a cocktail shaker to shake up all those ingredients and a highball glass from which to enjoy your delicious creation. 

We’ll look at the Painkiller cocktail’s unique history in more detail soon enough, but first, we’ll explain how to prepare one at home. Here’s our painkiller cocktail recipe.

Painkiller drink recipe 

Makes one painkiller drink 


  • 2 ounces of navy rum
  • 4 ounces of fresh pineapple juice
  • 1 ounce of fresh orange juice
  • 1 ounce of cream of coconut
  • Nutmeg to garnish
  • Pineapple wedge to garnish 
  • Fresh ice


  1. Start by gathering your drinks together, readying your cocktail shaker, and preparing the ice and garnishes. 
  2. Fill a cocktail shaker with crushed ice. Measure out 2 ounces of navy rum into the cocktail shaker. Pour in 4 ounces of pineapple juice, 1 ounce of orange juice, and 1 ounce of cream of coconut. 
  3. Shake vigorously until all the ingredients are well mixed. 
  4. Next, fill a highball glass with crushed ice. Use a strainer to pour the mixed Painkiller drink from the cocktail shaker into the highball glass.
  5. Add a pineapple wedge to the rim, and garnish the glass with nutmeg. 
  6. Serve ice-cold, and enjoy fresh!

What’s the history of the Painkiller drink? 

The history behind the Painkiller is undoubtedly quirky, so let’s a look at it in more detail so you can fully appreciate where your cocktail originated. 

The legends go that the first mixed Painkiller cocktail was at the Soggy Dollar Bar on the small island of Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands sometime in the early 1970s. You could only reach the bar on the water, and so anyone looking for a Painkiller had to get their dollars soggy on the way there!

Painkillers have since been trademarked by Pusser’s Rum, a local variety of navy rum that was first distilled in 1979. The company owner enjoyed the Painkiller so much that he began marketing it alongside his rum and soon came to be associated with the drink itself. 

The cocktail seriously took off across the British Virgin Islands. Although Pusser’s Rum hadn’t actually invented the cocktail, they decided to take any bartenders to court if they tried making the drink without using Pusser’s Rum. The drink became infamous, but it’s highly debatable whether or not Pusser’s Rum can stop you from preparing this cocktail at home!

Do I have to use Pusser’s Rum? 

If you run a bar selling popular cocktail drinks, then you might not want to market this beverage as a Painkiller without using Pusser’s Rum and without the permission of their rum; otherwise, you might get sued!

Pusser’s Rum is a blend of different Caribbean rums designed to replicate old British Royal Navy Rum. It’s strong, and it’s dark, but it’s also costly and often hard to find outside of the Caribbean. 

Instead, you can use any other type of dark rum or navy rum that you have available in your local store. They’ll do the job more than adequately. 

If you’re looking for authenticity, then you can find Pusser’s Rum online or in specialist liquor stores. 

Can I use white rum to mix a Painkiller drink?

According to Pusser’s Rum, the only rum that you can use is Pusser’s Rum (or a dark rum). However, the traditional recipe for this cocktail (which was not made by Pusser’s Rum!) is said to have contained white rum.

With that in mind, we recommend trying out the cocktail recipe above with white rum if this is your preferred style of rum. White rum is lighter, of course, and it goes very well with the fruit juices and the cream of coconut. 

In the morning, white rum often goes down better than the more challenging navy rum, but that depends on your tastes. If you’re feeling creative or just can’t decide, why not try 1 ounce of white rum mixed with 1 ounce of dark rum? 

What are the best garnishes for a Painkiller drink? 

This is one fruity cocktail, so we recommend loading this drink up with all the fruity garnishes you desire. 

It’s recommended to add a wedge of pineapple to the rim, as well as the traditional nutmeg, but other great garnishes include a slice of lemon or lime, a slice of orange, or a little bit of orange zest. 

The drink goes well with a glazed cherry, too, and if you like it to be particularly sweet, why not add a little sugar syrup to finish the cocktail off? 

What if I don’t have any cream of coconut? 

The coconut element of the Painkiller cocktail is one of the most important. Still, if you don’t have or can’t find any coconut cream specifically, you can include other coconut options. 

Cream of coconut is hearty, thick, and filling, which is why it goes so well in the morning-after-the-night-before cocktail. If you don’t have this, then coconut cream does well, too. 

Coconut milk works in a pinch, but it’s not anywhere near as creamy or as sweet as coconut cream. If you’re not using the cream of coconut, add extra sugar syrup or other sweeteners to sweeten the cocktail. 

Painkiller drink: let’s get the drinks ready!

The Painkiller drink is an easy to pour cocktail that’s sweet, filling, and of course, alcoholic! Although this great drink is traditionally mixed as a morning hangover cure, we think it can be drunk any time of the day!

Prepared with navy rum (Pusser’s Rum, if you want to be really specific!), pineapple juice, orange juice, and a hearty serving of sweet cream of coconut, you really can’t beat a Caribbean-inspired Painkiller. If you’re looking for new cocktails to try mixing at home, then why not start by preparing a Painkiller drink?