Friday, 22 July 2011

Classic Cocktail of The Month: Painkiller

It is officially tiki season for cocktail geeks everywhere.  A topic of mixology which I am now becoming more immersed in, despite this string of terrible weather here in Victoria.  Because of a recent legal battle over a trademark between Pusser's Rum and PKNY, (formally know as Painkiller) one drink that has been getting a considerable amount of attention of as of late is the Painkiller (If you want to read more about the Legal battle check out TikiGeeki.).

The creation of the Painkiller isn't an in-depth historical journey when compared to cocktails such as the Old Fashioned or Martini but there is some debate over who created it.  According to Pusser's the drink was created by Daphane Henderson of the Soggy Dollar Bar on Jost Van Dyke Island in the British Virgin Islands.  So the story goes, Daphane's painkiller was a local favorite but she would never disclose the information regarding the exact recipe of the drink.  So Charles Tobias, Pusser's founder and owner attempted to recreate what he thought was the Painkiller.  The whole story can be read here, although it sounds more like a script then an actual historical recollection.  Beachbum Berry claims it was George and Marie Myrick of the Soggy Dollar Bar in 1971 who created the Painkiller.  Regardless of how this drink came to be, it has become a neo-classic among tiki culture and deserves to be remembered.

A fairly close comparison to the Pina Colada, the Painkiller is a simple concoction of Rum, pineapple juice, orange juice, cream of coconut and nutmeg.  One thing that does seem to vary in each recipe is the amount of rum.  You'll find anywhere from 1 oz to 4oz.  I've found that the ratio of 2:2:1:1 works best.  Also this ratio makes it easiest to adjust the proportions to accommodate for just the amount of pain you are in.  Also, don't feel constricted by strictly using only one brand of rum.  Be your own master blender and experiment with two or more different rums when making this tiki-tipple.  Sticking to Beachbum Berry's Remixed, I'll be using Mt. Gay and Cruzan, specifically Mt. Gay Extra Old and Cruzan 12 Year Old Single Barrel.  It wouldn't do justice to mix these premium rums with pineapple juice and coconut cream from a can.  So I have taken the time to prepare home made coconut cream and fresh pineapple juice.  Below you'll find instructions on how to execute these ingredients.

- 1 oz Mt. Gay Extra Old
- 1 oz Cruzan 12 Year Old Single Barrel
- 2 oz Fresh Pineapple Juice *
- 0.5 oz Fresh Orange Juice
- 0.5 oz Home-Made Coconut Cream **
- Nutmeg

- Add all ingredients except nutmeg to a cocktail shaker
- Add ice and shake for a quick 5 seconds ***
- Strain into a Tiki Mug or Collins glass filled with crushed ice
- Garnish with nutmeg, Pineapple, orangle, coconut or anything thing you want.  This is a tiki drink after all!

* Fresh Pineapple juice isn't too difficult.  Skin and core a pineapple.  Cube the pieces into 1 inch chunks. Put into food processor or blender and blend until a smoothie like consistency has been achieved.  Strain through a cheese cloth and bottle in the fridge.  Shake before every use as separation will occur.

** Coconut cream is a bit of a pain in the ass(Pre-made stuff from the store is an adequate substitute).  First Puncture two holes in the coconut's week spots (small circles at the bottom of the coconut).  Drain the coconut of all water, make sure you keep this water.  Put coconut into oven at 350 degrees  fahrenheit for about 30 minutes or until the coconut cracks.  Remove coconut from oven with oven mitts.  Wrap coconut in towel and break open with hammer.  Peel away all meat from coconut shell (one coconut will make for about 1 liter of coconut cream so use as much as you need).  Puree or finely chop coconut and place in pot with 2 cups of table cream (Half and Half) per coconut.  On medium heat bring mixture to a simmer for about 20 minutes, being carful not to over boil.  After 20 minutes remove from heat and let cool.  Once cooled strain mixture through a fine strainer removing as much liquid as possible.  Add 1 cup of coconut water (this is optional but I fell it makes a big difference in the flavor)  and equal parts of sugar to liquid.  Over low heat let all sugar dissolve.  Cool and bottle in fridge.  Shake before every use as separation will occur.

I just made these ingredients just this past weekend so I am not sure how long they will last in your fridge but best to use them up as quick as possible.  Although the coconut cream does freeze very well with no negative side effects after thawing.

*** The reason for such a short shake is because you will be serving this drink on crushed ice so you don't want it to get over diluted over time.  You also don't want to just dry shake (or dry blend like some recipes call for) because the lack of initial dilution/chilling will result in your first few sips being room temperature.  The cocktail will take time to chill on the crushed ice.  This is because chilling with ice comes from dilution.  YOU CAN NOT CHILL A COCKTAIL WITH ICE WITHOUT DILUTION, I DON'T CARE HOW BIG AND FANCY YOUR ICE IS.  Before you get pissed off about that last sentence, please read this article by Dave Arnold of The French Culinary Institute titled Cocktail Science (read part 1 & 2).

For my variation on the Painkiller I wanted to keep a lot of the basic elements the same but give it a fairly unrecognizable twist.  The rum, pineapple, citrus, coconut and spice will all be present but along with a couple other elements that you wouldn't expect to find in a traditional tiki drink.

Broad Bay
- 1.5 oz Cruzan Single Barrel
- 0.5 oz Laphraoigh Quarter Cask
- 2 oz Fresh Pineapple Juice
- 0.5 oz Coconut Cream
- 0.5 oz Grapefruit Juice
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Cinnamon

- Add all ingredients except cinnamon to a cocktail shaker
- Add ice and shake for a quick 5 seconds 
- Strain into a Tiki Mug or Collins glass filled with crushed ice
- Garnish with grated cinnamon, cinnamon stick and grapefruit peel

I hope you enjoyed this months edition of Classic Cocktail of The Month.  If you haven't had a Painkiller before defiantly give it a try.  It's also a great drink to introduce to non-cocktail drinkers to because of it's heavy amount of juice.  And Remember makes it with what ever rum you have around the house or feel would best suit this cocktail.  Don't let some Rum Company tell you that it must be made with their rum and their rum alone.

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