We often hear that “rum is too sweet,” and that just isn’t true. There’s definitely some sweet rum out there, but there’s also sweet gin, sweet whiskey, and sweet vodka. The best rums are dry and super aromatic, and there are plenty of fine varieties that you can sip neat from a rocks glass while you do a crossword or shout at the neighbor kids across the street.
Now that we’ve convinced you to start hoarding rum like a pirate, we’re going to tell you how to make one of our all-time favorite rum drinks. It’s called a Painkiller, and it’s exactly what it sounds like. You’ll want to drink this on a summer day when the sun is trying to nudge you in the direction of a refreshing alcoholic beverage, and it tastes just as good in a dark corner of your apartment.
How It Tastes: Smooth, Tropical, Refreshing
- 2.5 ounces pineapple juice
- 1 ounce coconut milk
- 1 ounce orange juice
- .5 ounce lime Juice
- .75 ounce simple syrup
- 2 ounces rum
- Nutmeg and optional fruits (or flowers) for garnish
Step One: Lime Juice
A traditional Painkiller doesn’t actually call for lime juice, but half an ounce is going to make this cocktail brighter and help balance it out. So put .5 ounce lime juice in your shaker. And make sure it’s fresh. Don’t cut corners.
Step Two: Simple Syrup
The pineapple and orange juice will add a bit of sugar to this cocktail - but not enough. That’s why you need simple syrup. If you don’t know how to make that, just mix equal parts warm water and white sugar, then stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add .75 ounce to your shaker.
Step Three: Orange Juice
Next, add 1 ounce orange juice to your shaker. Once again, fresh-squeezed is ideal.
Step Four: Coconut Milk
A classic Painkiller uses cream of coconut, but that has a bunch of sugar in it, and it’s harder to find than just a plain old can of coconut milk. So go with 1 ounce of coconut milk (make sure you stir the can before you pour), straight in your shaker. We prefer the consistency of light coconut milk, but use what you have.
Step Five: Pineapple Juice
Yes, we’re always telling you to use fresh juice - but you don’t really have to do that here. Some pineapple juice straight from a bottle or can is perfectly fine. Pour 2.5 ounces in your shaker.
Step Six: Rum
There’s a lot of different rum you could go with here, but for this we like an amber-colored rum with a bit of age. (You can find a lot of great bottles for less than $30, like Appleton Reserve Blend or Flor De Cana 7 Year). Or, if you have some dark rum sitting around your house, that works too. You want deep, toasty notes for this drink. Add 2 ounces of rum to your cocktail shaker.
Step Seven: Shake
Shake hard for 15 seconds while you visualize yourself enjoying this painkiller on a beach without any seagulls trying to steal your food.
Step Eight: Pour & Garnish
Pour everything into a highball (or even better, a tiki glass) filled with ice. We like to use crushed ice, but regular ice cubes are just fine. If you’d like to break some cubes up, however, it’s easy. Just put them in the palm of your hand and smack them with the back of a spoon. Once your drink is poured, grate some fresh nutmeg over it. (Nutmeg is especially nice on creamy drinks like this one.) Finally, garnish with whatever else you want. Go wild. An orange slice? Perfect. A few pineapple leaves? Amazing. A fistful of blueberries? 100%. This is a fun cocktail. Have fun.