Monday, December 13, 2010

Mixology Monday (MxMo LIII): The Painkiller

This month's Mixology Monday is hosted by Chris Amirault of eGullet's Spirits & Cocktails forum.  The theme:  "Like that?  You'll love this."  The idea behind the theme is basically the question of what gateway drink might one suggest to bring a drinker of some of the more disastrous inappropriately named "-tini" drinks of the late 20th century and the like over to the side of more refined cocktail fare.  Maybe it's the word of the snowstorms in the midwest, or the cold that blanketed the Boston area this past week and now promises a return, but I went the tiki route for my suggestion, perhaps in the hope of generating some warm thoughts.  My suggestion applies to someone whose goto drinks include a piña colada.  Now, to be clear, I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with a piña colada - it's frankly one of the greatest drinks invented for drinking on the beach.  That said, it is also a drink frequently butchered through the use of commercial mixes that often result in something mediocre at best.  So here's another option that I think a piña colada fanatic will also love:  The Painkiller.
Painkiller (from Beachbum Berry's Grog Log)
4 oz. unsweetened pineapple juice
1 oz. coconut cream (Coco Lopez preferred)
2 1/2 oz. Pusser's Navy Rum (sub dark Jamaican if unavailable; I like Myers or Smith & Cross for this)
- Shake juices, coconut cream, and rum with crushed ice, strain into tall glass or tiki mug, dust with cinnamon and nutmeg.  Garnish with a pineapple stick, cinnamon stick, and an orange wheel.
According to Beachbum Berry, the Painkiller was invented in 1971 by George and Marie Myrick of the Soggy Dollar Bar on the island of Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands.  The Beachbum also has some other great  notes about the drink and its origins, like the fact that the Soggy Dollar is a beachfront bar lacking a dock, thus the only way to get there is to jump off your boat and swim (but there's conveniently a clothesline in place to hang your soggy dollars out to to dry).  Another interesting fact provided is that in the early 2000s bartenders there apparently had a habit of grating Viagra tablets onto the drink, giving it a blue hue as well as...other properties.

The rum of choice for this drink, Pusser's Navy Rum, also has some interesting story to it.  The A Mountain of Crushed Ice blog has some details on this, as does the Pusser's website.  "Pusser" is a slurred reference to "purser," the naval officer in charge of the ships stores.  Back in the day, this also meant he was in charge of the seaman's daily allotment of rum, or "tot."  Yes, from about 1655, and only ending in 1970, members of the British navy would receive a daily allotment of navy rum.  After "Black Tot Day," the end of this long-held tradition, British navy rum disappeared for a bit until 1979, when entrepreneur Charles Tobias bought the recipe and rights from the British Admiralty and continued its production, also making it available for sale to the public for the first time.  The rum itself is a blend of different types of island rums, and includes old fashioned pot stilled rum in its blend.

The Painkiller is one of my favorite drinks that I've tried so far out of the Beachbum's recipes.  Give it a try, and hopefully your piña colada lover will love it as well.

**p.s. - my apologies for the lack of photo, but I appear to have thrown my back out this evening which quite literally put a crimp in some of my plans, such as having the time to take a decent photo.  The Art of Drink has a post on the Painkiller with some shots, however, if you are curious.

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