I want to be a hearty, bearded sailor who’s charge is managing the money and doling out rum and grub. Luckily, my dreams are not too far off, as these were common duties of the ship’s purser. And though this sounds glamorous, the purser often had a bad lot, rarely ending up wealthy and always being suspected of scheming and cheating the crew, who bought all their bedding, clothing, hooks, parrots, and other booty from him.

Taken blatantly from this ship station is the name of Pusser’s, a navy rum made as far back as 1655 to “support” the navy. However, it wasn’t publicly available until 1979, which just so happens to be the Kaiser’s birth year. And if the tales be true, Pusser’s is still produced in the same wooden barrels it was 200 years ago.

Continuing my quest to find out glorious bits of information for you about Navy rum, my search turned to Erik from Underhill-Lounge. The juiciest hint I got out of him is that Martin from Forbidden Island procured a very old navy rum for a pretty penny. Can you tell us about it Martin?

But back to Pusser’s… one of the company’s signature recipes is the Painkiller. Yes, I’m indeed posting about a company’s cocktail. The Painkiller has a unique property that makes it a flexible beverage to serve to guests: as the recipe is, it can be made with varying amounts of rum and still maintain its character. 2oz to 4oz is a safe bet. Obviously the Kaiser goes with the ceiling. Sadly, that doesn’t allow it to be put in the fun Pusser’s mug (thanks Eric!).

What is much worse, however, is that Pusser’s is not easily found in PA, so once my secret stash was depleted, I tried to find a combination of other rums that would work well. I ended up with the simple mix of 2 1/2oz gold Puerto Rican and 2oz dark Jamaican. Upon offering up such a substitution to my fellow tikiphiles, I was immediately chided with worries that I was bringing the Painkiller a bit too close to the Pina Colada. Does it change the flavor? Yes. Is it still delicious? Quite http://www.iutoic-dhaka…otc.html. Maybe we can call it the Mistaken Painkiller.


  • 4oz pineapple juice
  • 1oz orange juice
  • 1oz coconut cream (Coco Lopez preferred)
  • 4oz Pusser’s Rum (or 2 1/2oz gold Puerto Rican – used Cruzan dark; 2oz dark Jamaican – used Gosling’s… wish I could get Coruba in PA)
  • 8oz crushed ice

Blend at the speed of light for no more than three seconds, and pour into an enormous and daunting glass. Grate some nutmeg and cinnamon on top. Or don’t.

Grog Log, Jeff “Beachbum” Berry

How to keep the coconut cream from separating

  • Add all the ingredients to the blender except for the rum and ice.
  • Whaz it up for a few seconds. Add in the rum and spin again for only a second.
  • Pour into a hefty goblet filled with crushed ice.

I really had a lot of trouble avoiding the separation. Once it hit the -8F ice, it seized up and curdled. It still tasted fine… but it looked less appealing. Perhaps one of our chemists can explain this phenomenon and offer a solution.

KP Questions

  1. What are your strategies for keeping the coconut cream from separating? And what’s your favorite brand?
  2. Do you know any other tasty drinks that contain Pussers?
  3. What combination of rums would closely approximate a navy rum?

16 Responses to “Painkiller”

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16 Comments to “ Painkiller”
  1. Wow, nice Peony Rick!

    Why, in fact, I just wrote up another use for Pusser’s on Sunday.

    Goombay Smash

    Note the giant flower a la Kaiser Penguin!

  2. I first heat the coco lopez and shake it with the most acid of the tarts (pineapple, lime, lemon, etc). I then add the liquids in order of their acidity. I don’t think you can avoid a certain amount of precipitate – the more saturated the fat, the more it will be likely to solidify. You just need to get the fat particles as small as possible so they can be imperceptible.

    I’ll bet a bit of some kind of emulsifier would help — cheap and easy would be a small amount of egg yolk, or powdered soy lecithin. This will just keep the tiny bits of fat small and keep them from re-combining into larger bits.

    But like with butter/honey in the Don’s Pearl, a good amount of a nice acid and ramos-gin-fiz-like shaking, and you should be laughing.

  3. jimmyNo Gravatar says:

    Did they get the eye-patch from the purser too? I’ve got a little 50ml bottle of the British Navy Imperial Rum. Maybe I should crack it open and see how it compares to some combinations of other rums?

  4. RickNo Gravatar says:

    Erik, The Goombay smash looks quite tasty… any other Pusser’s potions up your sleeve?
    Craig, How warm to you get the coco lopez?
    Jimmy, I think that’s a wise idea. Will you report back?

  5. Dr. BambooNo Gravatar says:

    I LOVE the Painkiller, and it’s one of the tiki drinks I find myself going back to over and over again. I tell people that once they try one, they’ll never drink another Pina Colada.

    Also- I have a reliable source for Pusser’s, so I can get you some more no problem..just let me know.

  6. MartinNo Gravatar says:

    OK, there’s a lot to say here:

    Here’s the short blurb about the British Royal Navy Rum from my rum menu:

    “This unique rum is among the last remaining stocks of rum that represented over 300 years of Royal Navy tradition. When the British fleet captured the island of Jamaica in 1655, the daily ration of liquor given to seamen was changed from brandy to rum. Drinking it with water gave us the term grog, and the addtion of lime to prevent scurvy earned the British the nickname “limeys.” As the ration was reduced, the Sea Lords demanded that quality standards increase. Rum brokers experimented with blending and the formulas eventually became closely guarded secrets. They carried over the older rum blend in a technique akin to the Solera system for sherry. This created a layered, rich, noble rum. The Royal Navy ended the daily rum ration on July 31st, 1970, now known as “Black Tot Day.” After Black Tot Day, the remaining stock silently aged in bonded underground warehouses in Jamaica under the authority and supervision of the British Government. Until recently, the final stores of this special rum have been reserved for important naval and Royal functions. This rum, commissioned over 50 years ago, has been kept in its original Imperial gallon ceramic jars. F. Paul Pacult of the prestigious Spirit Journal gives this rum five stars, his highest recommendation. Experience for yourself the last drops of three centuries of tradition.”

    You can Wiki the much longer history of the Royal Navy and rum, but anyway, my jar is one of the final 650 that were in storage in the warehouse. It is a blend of Jamaican & Guyana pot & column distillates. Mostly pot still as it’s big and funky- fills the room up with it’s aroma. It’s also insanely wonderful.

    Oh wait, here’s more (from TC, which I partially lifted for my menu):

    “The product is British Royal Navy Imperial Rum, and it is, in fact, the REAL deal. Pussers and Lambs have some legitimacy as Royal Navy Rum, but the stock of wonderfully aged alembic spirits distilled in Jamaica and Guyana that were aged in American oak barrels and casked at 108 proof was the British Vatted Rum for issue to the Jack Tars on deck. When the Royal Navy decreased the ration from one gill to one half gill on January 1, 1851, Rum brokers experimented with blending and the blending formulas eventually became closely guarded secrets. They carried over the surplus rum blend akin to the Solera system for Sherry or in the old Cognac Houses. This created layered, rich, noble rum with distinct rancio. Since the quantity of the ration of rum was reduced the Sea Lords demanded that QUALITY standards increased. After, the notorious Black Tot Day in 1970, the remaining stock silently aged in bonded underground warehouses in Jamaica under the authority and supervision of the British Government who owned the old stock. His Royal Highness Prince Andrew, Duke of York, served a served in the Royal Navy, seeing action in the Falklands War aboard HMS Invincible. The British Royal Navy Imperial Rum was served at his wedding to Fergie, and at various other Royal functions. All the while the rum slumbered away with only small sales to generate resources to benefit Royal Navy’s Sailor’s Fund. Finally, a shrewd and charming Oil Man named Mark Andrews from Houston, Texas acquired the remaining stock of 650 wicker-covered ceramic demijohns. He previously purchased Knappogue Castle in Co. Clare, Eire in 1966. It is history in the bottle, and it is a beautiful package. The British Royal Navy Imperial 108.6-proof rum is a beautifully packaged classic ceramic demijohn encased in wicker, along with a glass decanter, funnel and stopper. A normal retail price should be around $5,500 to $6,000.”

    It’s now more like $3500 today.

    Most of the remaining rum was sold off on the cheap at navy bars in Gibraltar, or around the Caribbean- it’s shocking how inexpensive it used to be in the 70s and 80s. But soon all that was left was the stuff in the Royal Navy’s warehouse.

    So you can try it at Forbidden Island, but start saving your pennies!

    Now, on to the next phase. After it was gone, Charles Tobias bought the recipe from the Royal Navy in 1979, with the promise to donate the some of the profits to the Sailor’s Retirement Fund, and launched Pusser’s. Today Pusser’s comes from all over hell and who knows where- the origin countries on the label keep changing. I do know that he is still buying part of his blend from Guyana, but I don’t think there’s any more Jamaica in it. (The Guyana blend is partially produced in a 200 year old wooden pot still- not barrel as mentioned in your post- that was used for the Royal Navy rum as well.). It says it’s uncolored and unflavored, but I don’t buy that. Sadly they have also dropped the proof to 84 in the States, and it loses some of it’s charm as a result.

    The company that markets the remaining Royal Navy rums also makes Sea Wynde- their attempt to capture the style at a more reasonable price. It’s a nice rum, but fails to get the real flavor. Pusser’s is actually closer to the real stuff (having obviously performed many side-by-side comparisons.)

    On to the Painkiller: Not actually a company drink, though they think it is. It’s from the Soggy Dollar Bar on Jost Van Dyke in the Briish Virgin Islands. (where Pusser’s is headquartered). You order it by number to indicate the strength: Painkiller #3, Painkiller #4, etc.

    Yes, you should use Pusser’s for this- it’s hard to find a funky substitute. El Dorado 5 year would be closer.

    “Grate some nutmeg and cinnamon on top. Or don’t.”

    OR DO. The spice is a huge part of this drink- do not omit! In the BVI, it’s just nutmeg. I like Jeff’s addition of cinnamon, and that’s how we make it- with both.

    Coco Lopez: We have food service sized cans, and put them in a hot water bath for about an hour. Then remove and shake them like crazy. We then put them in pump top bottles for ease of service, and in the fridge at the end of the shift. Then the bottle comes out the next night and goes into the hot bath for an hour before starting. We never have separation problems.

    Oh my god I must get back to work. Damn you penguin.


  7. SwankyNo Gravatar says:

    The key to keeping the Coco Lopez from seperating, is to buy it in the new squeezy tube! Instead of the can, they have a plastic bottle, like what mustard and other condiments come in now. This allows for easy measuring just the right amount and no waste, and no seperation. Get it now! Makes all these coconut cream recipes so much easier!

  8. EmilyNo Gravatar says:

    I have a question regarding the use of Coco Lopez. The recipe calls for “coconut cream” not “cream of coconut”. I think they are two different things. Coconut cream is made with coconut flesh and water or milk. I’ve made my own by soaking shredding coconut flesh in milk, then processing it in a Vitamix blender and squeezing it through cheesecloth. Cream of coconut seems to be very sweet and has strange gums and thickeners added.

    This sounds like a great drink, but the sweetness of the fruit juices seem like more than enough without the additional sugar from the Coco Lopez. I’d try this drink with homemade Coconut Cream instead.

  9. The way I would look at “CocoLopez” is as a coconut version of Orgeat.

    Basically a coconut syrup. It should be quite sweet, as should a Painkiller.

    Yes, CocoLopez contains preservatives and various gums.

    The preservatives keep the sugar and coconut proteins from fermenting in the heat of the Caribbean. The gums keep the oils emulsified in the syrup.

    If CocoLopez didn’t have those things, it would have a very short shelf life and the coconut oil would rather quickly separate from the water.

  10. MartinNo Gravatar says:

    This drink was more than certainly invented with Coco Lopez, which has been the standard for things like the Pina Colada since the 50s. The drink is not that old, and invented at a bar that you have to swim to get to.

    Remember that unsweetened pineapple juice has plenty of it’s own acidity, as does orange juice. The net effect is certainly a sweet drink, but not as much as you may fear.

  11. SwankyNo Gravatar says:

    I think I read this wrong. You are asking how to keep from pouring the drink and finding that all the Coconut Cream is still stuck to the inside of the blender?

    BTW, the stuff I was referring to is Coco Real.

  12. TiareNo Gravatar says:

    I just can´t resist saying how cool i think that BIG Peony is in that drink..

    A Giant Peony in a Painkiller? its sooo cool!

    As for the Cream of Coconut separation, i also believe in a a good amount of acid hard shake. Or pour it in a Tikimug.

  13. DarrylNo Gravatar says:

    I have to say, I’ve always been mystified by talk of coconut cream separating in drinks. I’ve never had it happen. The coconut cream I buy – a brand called Coco Colada – is very thick, viscous, and sweet beyond belief, and I’ve used it in Pina Coladas and Painkillers alike with no separation problems. Perhaps the thicker the cream, and the longer the shake, the less chance of separation? (It’s times like this I wish I’d paid more attention in science class.)

  14. TiareNo Gravatar says:

    This is one of the garnishes i love the most of all i`ve seen, its just fabulous.


  15. […] Of course, I have one or two rums to choose from at home, so I’ve been trying different rums in my painkillers all week.  Contrary to what Pusser’s might tell you, there are some other rums that work wonderfully in a Painkiller.  My personal favorite substitute is Scarlet Ibis out of Trinidad.  Rick over at KaiserPenguin also suggests that you can create a good experience by mixing several rums instead of a single subsitution. […]

  16. DagrebNo Gravatar says:

    Rick, do you still have trouble sourcing Pusser’s? What about demerara rums? Make the trek north my friend! Come north across Lake Erie and discover a whole new list of brands that the gov’t run liqour store doesn’t stock. There is El Dorado though.. and Havana Club too!


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Kaiser Penguin is a cocktail blog featuring original recipes, homemade ingredients, classic cocktails, and tiki drinks.

Why on Earth did you name your blog “Kaiser Penguin?”

It is a well-known fact that penguins are members of high society and enjoy fine cocktails. Our very own kaiser penguin would like me to mention that he also enjoys various treats from the sea.

Contact: rick@kaiserpenguin.com