There’s an episode of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” where the proprietors of Paddy’s Pub, Mac and Dennis, force their employees to prove their value to the bar. When it comes time for the surly bartender, Dee, to be evaluated, they ask her to make them a drink. “Sure, I’ll crack you open a beer,” she shoots back without missing a beat. “No, no, Dee. We’d like a real drink. One you have to mix.”
That pretty much sums up my feelings towards making a drink. All too often, the drinker wants complexity and the bartender wants simplicity. That dilemma turns paradoxical when you’re making a drink for yourself. But every once in a while, a worthy drink comes up that requires painstaking preparation but, in the end, gets you really drunk and tastes really good. These are the drinks worth the trip to the liquor store or grocery store. These are the drinks that people tease you for making, then thank you for while drinking them. The best of these drinks is the gem of the British Virgin Islands—the Painkiller.
No, the first ingredient is not a crushed Percocet (although it’s always fun to watch the reaction of an uninitiated friend when you say, “Let’s do painkillers today”). This drink is pure fruity bliss, but you don’t have to be embarrassed to be drinking it. It’s subtle and sweet, but also overwhelmingly strong. Created at the legendary Soggy Dollar bar on the beach in Jost Van Dyke, it’s been described as “Christmas in the Caribbean” (by me) and has led to, among other things, attempted yacht theft, topless swim races, and a few Kenny Chesney music videos. (I know what you’re thinking—who would be crazy enough to make a Kenny Chesney music video?) And I know, it may sound like a strictly warm weather drink—but that’s because it is. But who says we can’t enjoy a few while we ride out the Indian summer in the place that is arguably the polar opposite of a beach in the BVI?
Let’s talk ingredients. You’re going to have to go to a grocery store for a few of these things, but it’s worth it, trust me. Up first: cream of coconut, a foul-looking syrupy cream that looks vaguely like semen and clocks in at about 200 calories per tablespoon (did I mention that you gain a pound every sip?). You’ll also need pineapple juice, orange juice, and rum of your choosing. I like Sailor Jerry; the original opts for a darker rum—Myers’s or Gosling’s works. Lastly, you’ll need some nutmeg—preferably fresh, but powdered will do in a pinch (did you like that pun right there?).
Alright, now just toss everything into a pitcher—no muddling, no blending—4 parts pineapple, 1 part orange juice, 1 part coconut, and however much rum your heart desires (I usually do 3 parts). Then sprinkle as much nutmeg as you want in the mix. It seems weird, I know, but the nutmeg elevates the drink from the crowd of lame frozen cocktails “invented on a Caribbean island,” aka at the local Sandals resort. Stir it all together, pour it over the rocks, and sprinkle some nutmeg on top. There you have it. You’re welcome.
Unfortunately for us stuck at Columbia, we can’t drink them by the ocean (you could, theoretically, sip them poolside at Dodge, but you’ll probably be escorted out pretty quickly). What you can do, however, is pop on some Bob Marley (or some less generic reggae of your choosing), put the Travel Channel on mute, turn the heat up, get in a bathing suit, and pretend like you don’t have 200 pages of reading due on Monday. You can pretend, instead, that you’re far away on some lawless island without a care in the world. Then you can wake up 16 hours later with an ungodly hangover and a less than hazy memory of the day before. Cheers.
Malcolm Flynn is a Columbia College junior majoring in economics and philosophy. Picking Your Poison runs alternate Thursdays.