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Drink of the Week: Painkiller

We don't post enough tropical Tiki rum drinks on Summit Sips. It's not intentional—it just works out that way. With winter behind us now and the magnolias in bloom, we thought it might be nice to catch up on a classic that we mentioned back in April of last year. We may not be quite ready to kick off our sandals and relax in the luxurious sunshine, but this string of 70-degree days and thundershowers has us thinking maybe we should get few summer recipes prepared. The Painkiller is a perfect drink to put on the summer menu, and unlike a lot of Tiki tranquilizers, this one is easy to make.

In order to make the Painkiller, you need to gather a few ingredients, but it's not nearly as difficult as you might think. First and foremost, you need coconut cream. Don't worry, we aren't proposing that you run out and buy coconuts to make some homemade tropical mess. Although, if you were going to do that, please post a comment about it. It's entirely possible to mix up your own coconut cream using coconut milk to make a rich syrup similar to orgeat, which is basically what we are after. The rest of us will simply pick up a can of Coco López Cream of Coconut. It's available practically everywhere, especially in liquor stores, but make sure you are buying the cream and not coconut milk. Coco López is the original coconut cream created by Don Ramon Lopez Irizarry of Puerto Rico. After creating the product which successfully combines the hearts of Caribbean coconuts with cane sugar, it quickly became an essential ingredient in the 1954 hit cocktail, the Piña Coloda and now enjoys international distribution to over 50 countries. Don't buy Piña Colada mix for this drink or any other coconut flavored mixer thinking it's the same thing. You really want Coco López Cream of Coconut for this.

Many consider the Painkiller a better drink than the Piña Colada, and for several reasons, they are probably right. For one thing, you don't need a blender to make the Painkiller and that alone is a good reason to get excited about making these. In addition to the coconut, you are going to need some pineapple. Always use an unsweetened 100% pineapple juice product. It's easy to find little cans in the grocery store. You can always juice fresh cut pineapple, but try to avoid using a concentrate. You also need an orange to squeeze for fresh juice. Finally, make sure you have some good, dark Jamaican rum.

Painkiller
2.5 oz Pusser's Rum or dark Jamaican rum
4 oz unsweetened pineapple juice
1 oz orange juice
1 oz Coco López Cream of Coconut

Add ingredients to a shaker with plenty of crushed ice and shake to chill. Pour unstrained into a tall glass or Tiki mug. Garnish with grated nutmeg, cinnamon, orange wheel, cinnamon stick, pineapple wedge etc. etc. etc.

Here's the thing about the Painkiller. It's officially supposed to use Pusser's Rum. This is a dark rum from the British Virgin Islands that was once dispensed aboard Royal Navy ships to their crew. The "rum ration" was abandoned in 1970, but Pusser's enjoys an illustrious history and claims to be the only base spirit one should use to make the Painkiller cocktail. You can and should use Pusser's if you are able, but we are here to tell you that there's absolutely no shame in using any dark Jamaican rum in its place. In fact, we used Smith and Cross with fantastic results. Your choice of rum will probably depend on your inventory, but consider that the country of origin is an important factor in rum's flavor profile. Jamaican rums are known for their unusual funkiness—an attribute that allows the spirit to stand out and poke through the other ingredients in this recipe.

At first glance, you might think this recipe will make a drink that is runaway sweet. At least that's what we thought when we opened the can of Coco López. It's basically a coconut flavored rich syrup, but when you add 4 ounces of unsweetened pineapple you are actually balancing a lot of that sweet with acid. The orange juice plays just a supporting role here, but it helps by rounding out the flavors. Some folks say you should bump up the ratio of rum for a better drink, but that's up to you. By all means, don't forget the nutmeg. After dedicating an entire post to garnish, we give you permission to skip the fresh pineapple spear, but since you already have the orange, you should be able to add a wedge or wheel to your drink. But the nutmeg can make or break this one. There's nothing like the smell of freshly grated nutmeg over a cocktail, so consider this absolutely necessary.

4 comments to Drink of the Week: Painkiller

  • When Pusser's went after the former Painkiller NYC, they lost any business they might have gotten from me. It was pretty shaky ground, but PKNY is a pretty small business and wasn't in much of a position to fight back.

  • I suppose it's like Gosling's claiming ownership of the Dark & Stormy. It should be enough just to be connected to a cocktail's history. Nobody can take that away. Litigation sounds like a good way to lose customer respect--whether the product tastes good or not.

  • Similarly, I haven't gone to the new Trader Vic's in town after they forced Blair Reynolds (formerly Trader Tiki) to change his company's name. As some pointed out at the time, they hadn't gone after Trader Sam's at Disney World, even though that's much more of a direct competitor. You don't mess with the Mouse, but the little guy is fair game.

  • From what I understand, Blair Reynold's syrups are fantastic. They should have been honored to be close alphabetically! Instead, perhaps they felt upstaged. It's too bad. I wonde if the Summit Brewing company will make me change my blog name someday.

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