History and Recipe of Painkiller and other BVI cocktails

BVI: The birthplace of Painkiller and Soggy Dollar

If you’re looking for a sailors’ paradise, don’t look any further! In the British Virgin Islands, you will find everything you need to spend a fantastic holiday: white beaches and blue waters for diving among corals, colourful fish and wrecks of ancient ships, an incredible local culture to discover together with its cuisine and rum’s tradition.

Besides the ideal sailing conditions and the idyllic landscape, other remarkable features of this archipelago are its legendary beach-bar scene and some of the best rum distilleries worldwide. It is indeed almost obligatory to sit in one of its mythical bars while tasting traditional rum-based cocktails, as the world-renowned Painkiller. It is an experience you cannot miss!

But let’s go straight into the history of the Painkiller! Read on to unveil its recipe and discover other cocktails to taste during your sailing holidays in the BVI.

The history of Painkiller

Soggy Dollar's sign outside the bar
Credits: Flickr –
Jeana Costa

The original Painkiller was created at the Soggy Dollar in the 1970s, a bar located on the White Bay of Jost Van Dyke island. The beverage quickly became a typical drink to taste when visiting it. People from around the islands and beyond began showing up just to try it. The recipe was a well-kept secret, but everyone liked it.

At that time Daphne Henderson, an English bartender, was the owner of the hotspot. Anchored just off the beach, but without a dock, customers had to swim to the shore to get to the Soggy Dollar, making their money wet on the way. This inspired the name of the bar.

Today Pusser’s Rum Ltd is the trademark of the beverage, but the concoction was created by Daphne Henderson. Pusser’s rum is the most famous brand of British Navy Rum. Boaters, including Pusser’s founder, Charles Tobias, came from distant places to sample her version of the Painkiller. Also, Charles grew curious about the cocktail that was made using Pusser’s Rum, so he decided to visit Daphne’s bar.

Daphne Henderson and Charles Tobias became good friends. However, despite their close friendship, and no matter how he tried, she refused to divulge her secret recipe for the cocktail. As the story goes, Tobias has recreated the almost equal drink, although the customers of the Soggy Dollar find it to be slightly less sweet than the original bar mix. The patrons at the bar all had a taste and unanimously agreed they preferred his version to her.

Painkiller Recipe

Ingredients and quantities

Painkiller ingredients on a table: rum, coconut, orange, pineapple, and a glass
Credits: Flickr – Dragon Whale

The famous liqueur, obtained from the distillation of sugar cane, has a long and glorious tradition in the Caribbean atolls; also in the BVI, rum is the fundamental ingredient for the preparation of various cocktails with an intense flavour.

It’s a bright drink with vibrant fruit flavours and colours to savour on a hot, sunny day, preferably on the beach.

Here you have the recipe! You can make it at home, and it will make you want to rent a boat in the British Virgin Islands immediately!

  • 2 oz Rum
  • 4 oz Pineapple Juice
  • 1 oz Cream de Coconut
  • 1 oz Orange Juice
  • Fresh Nutmeg

Others cocktails to taste in the BVI

Painkiller cocktails on a table
Credits: Flickr – Martin Wippel

As we said, the British Virgin Islands are famous for their local bars and delicious cocktails. Actually, besides the Painkiller there other savoury cocktails to try after a long day on the beach. The Rum Punch is a cocktail made with dark rum, grenadine syrup, a mix of pineapple juice, orange and other fruits based on the tastes of the bartender (for example, mango or passion fruit), with the addition of a few drops of angostura bitter. Although, every bar in the Carribean has its own recipe.

Another must-try drink in the British Virgin Islands is the creamy Bushwacker, a smoothie made with rum, coconut cream, Baileys, Amaretto di Saronno, vodka, Kahlua and chocolate syrup, served with an abundant dose of ice. Unlike the Painkiller, nobody knows who invented it.

Choose one the one you like most and sip it lying on a hammock, or better, aboard a boat! Can you imagine a better plan for your holidays?

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