Dream Of Paradise With A Pusser’s Painkiller

Pussers - Painkiller

If cocktails could talk, this one would entertain you. The Painkiller, a classic Pusser’s Rum drink made using four key ingredients (that’s Pusser’s Rum, cream of coconut, orange and pineapple juice, for those who don’t know) served over the rocks and garnished with fresh ground nutmeg, has a rich history dating back to the ‘70s.

First concocted at the six-seat Soggy Dollar Bar, on the island of Jost Van Dyke, the Painkiller is a rich and fruity drink with tropical roots. Interpreted literally, you’d be forgiven for thinking this drink is a hangover remedy, but in fact the Painkiller started out life on a long stretch of white sandy beach deep in the heart of the British Virgin Islands. There was no dock, so the usual way in was to swim, with your dollars in your pocket. Naturally they got wet – hence the name: Soggy Dollar Bar.

The bar’s owner Daphne Henderson was famed by boaters who’d come from all around to sample her tasty Pusser’s Painkiller, one of whom was Pusser’s founder Charles Tobias. He became obsessed with trying to obtain the recipe for this delicious drink having already been granted permission to commercialise the rum, in 1980. Ironically, the two became good friends, but he still wanted the formula to Henderson’s Painkiller.

Survival of the fittest

Two years later, following several Painkillers, Tobias succeeded in getting one of her concoctions into his kitchen on Tortola. He matched her flavour as closely as possible with his own recipe; a “4-1-1″ ratio – four parts pineapple, one part cream of coconut and one part orange juice – adding Pusser’s Rum to suit.

Tobias brought his recipe to the Soggy Dollar bar to compare it to Henderson’s.  Although his was slightly different, he insisted the new version was better. Naturally, Henderson disagreed.

The two put a $100 wager on whose concoction was tastier and asked all of the Soggy Dollar’s regulars to judge. Tobias ordered two rounds: one that Daphne made, and one that he made to his recipe. They marked the cups and proceeded to test. Tobias’s recipe won 10 out of 10 taste-tests. He used the $100 winnings to buy everyone Painkillers at the bar.

Tobias then went on to promote and feature the Painkiller in several sizes in all his restaurants and pubs but made sure to give Daphne Henderson a credit as the creator of the original Painkiller.

Today it’s much easier to enjoy this refreshing cocktail. You just need four ingredients and lots of ice.

You can even keep your dollars dry.


·         35ml Pusser’s 40%ABV Rum (or 54.5% ABV)

·         25ml Coco Re’al Cream of Coconut (available from Fortnum and


·         25ml  Orange Juice

·         100ml Pineapple Juice


1.       Shake all ingredients together with ice. Strain into a tall glass over fresh ice.

2.       Garnish with further 15ml of Pusser’s 54.5%abv rum and fresh ground nutmeg

Pusser’s Rum Proudly Sponsors The Beach At Camden’s Roundhouse


The UK’s original navy rum, Pusser’s, has partnered with the Roundhouse this summer to launch the long-awaited return of Camden Beach, a 900 sq metre terrace filled with 150 tonnes of the finest sand, end-of-the-pier amusements, pop-up food stalls, beach huts, ping-pong, live music and a showcase of summer drinks brands. The partnership between the historic venue and rum makers Pusser’s, sees the brand sponsoring one of the iconic beach huts, creating a ‘Rum Shack’ with full branding and bar presence.

Proceedings kick off on 24th July with a VIP launch party, followed by a nod to the brand’s naval roots with celebrations to mark Black Tot Day on 31st July. Pusser’s will be holding masterclasses with Rum Ambassador Ian Burrell, rum tastings throughout, and serving Grog cocktails inspired by the old navy tale of Admiral Vernon, who was known as The Grog.

During the summer, the famous Pusser’s cocktail, The Painkiller, will also be served which will feature Coco Re’al – also distributed by Cellar Trends.

This is the second year that Pusser’s has been involved with Camden Beach and Peter Thornton, Brand Manager at Pusser’s, comments: “It is a very cool event, bringing something different and unique to London. On 31 July we will be inviting some navy guys along for Black Tot Day celebrations to share their sea-faring tales with the Camden crowd to help spread the word about this important day and the Navy Tot Fund. Throughout the summer, there’s a great atmosphere and backdrop and it provides an excellent opportunity for us to reach new consumers with both Pusser’s Rum and Coco Re’al.”

Join the Pusser’s team and sample the legendary rum on the 31st July 2014 at The Roundhouse, Chalk Farm Road, London, NW1 8EH.



Everyone loves something classic. Classic films, classic cars, classic music. But what about classic drink? Yes there’s the classic cocktails like Martini or Manhattan, but what about those brands that make those cocktails become a mainstay? Or maybe those brands that have earned the right to be called classic? Say, for example, Pusser’s?

Pusser’s comes under this category for two reasons. Number one is for its quality, and number two for its history.

Between the mid 17th and 19th centuries, the sailors of the Royal Navy were granted a daily ration of rum by the ship’s Purser. The term Purser gradually changed its name until it became the more recognisable Pusser. Before 1740, the daily ration included an entire pint of rum which was consumed neat and before a battle, a double rum ration was issued. Only on July 31st 1970 did this tradition end after the Admiralty Board deemed it unsuitable.

The brand that we see behind the bars today was founded by Charles Tobias, a sailor and businessman. Tobias resurrected Pusser’s rum in 1979, using the original blending recipe which he had been given by the Admiralty. Today, the blend is the same as it was on British warships, using five West Indian rums (three from Guyana, two from Trinidad) aged for at least 3 years and contains mostly pot-still rum, all within Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. To add extra intrigue, the pot-still is made of wood, the definition of real navy rum.

George Freegard - International Brand Manager
George Freegard – International Brand Manager

Overseeing the development of Pusser’s around the world is a gentleman named George Freegard. Responsible for overseeing production and procurement and International sales outside of the US since 2012, I had the chance to enjoy the range of Pusser’s available here in the UK a couple of weeks back. A genuine rum lover, George gave great insight into the work that Charles Tobias has done, as well as his own achievements since working his first stint on the brand back in 1994 in the British Virgin Islands.

So how does this all natural rum fair? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes on their range, served up by George himself –

Pusser’s Gunpowder Proof – 54.5%

Originally named Pusser’s Old Blue. Rich vanilla nose with a slight toffee that lightens off with a hint of sweetness. A heavy burn on the palate to begin with but a mellow warmth develops with a sweet vanilla flavour.

Pusser’s New Blue – 40%

Released in 2014. Soft vanilla nose with hints of toffee and an underlying sweetness. A slight burn on the palate, but warms up after a few seconds, offering a sweet vanilla flavour that lingers.

Pusser’s Spice – 35%

Dry spice with a light kick of cinnamon on the nose. Very smooth on the palate, with dry spice, plenty of wood and a lingering ginger flavour to finish.

Pusser’s Navy Rum 15yr – 40%

Rich toffee nose with plenty of buttery aromas coming through. A rich, developing palate with a kick of sugar. Plenty of toffee notes create a lingering yet dry finish.

It’s always great to find a classic recipe too –


The Pusser’s Painkiller

Glass –

Goblet / Mug

Ingredients –

50 ml Pusser’s Rum – or 75ml / 100ml depending on the severity of the pain!
100 ml pineapple juice
25 ml orange juice
25 ml cream of coconut

Method –

Fill a mug or goblet with ice and add the ingredients. To mix, pour once or twice back and forth into another glass. Grate fresh nutmeg on top and enjoy this most delightful of tropical drinks.

Always one to go down well in any bar! Or indeed your home for that matter! It truly is a cracking range,

Whatever your take is on navy rum, these are expressions to look out for. Friend or foe, neat or Painkiller, Pusser’s is sticking around for a good reason.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.