Pair Pandan with Your Painkiller for the Perfect Summer Cocktail

The Southeast Asian grass brings subtle notes of vanilla to update this classic cocktail.

pandan painkiller cocktail rum drink recipe recipes
Photo by Matthew Kelly for Thrillist
Photo by Matthew Kelly for Thrillist

The Painkiller is a staple across the Virgin Islands for a reason: The medley of coconut, pineapple and orange juices and rum is the perfect companion to an endless summer. The only way to make the tropical concoction an even more suited to warm weather relaxation is to throw it in a blender—so that’s exactly what Kevin Beary and Julian Cox of Chicago’s Three Dots and a Dash did, with a couple of adjustments and additions, namely the fragrant pandan leaf that hails from Southeast Asia. Pandan and coconut naturally pair together in desserts across the region, so the addition—which provides the recipe with a green hue—makes perfect sense.

“The Pandan Painkiller works well as a frozen cocktail due to a favorable proportion of rum to juice and syrup,” says Beary, Beverage Director of Three Dots and a Dash, who uses a hefty blend of golden and black rums as the base of the drink. “The cocktail has strong notes of pandan and coconut, and the bold blend of rums hold up well to the dilution of the crushed ice when blending.”

This complex variation—which also includes tangerine juice in place of OJ—might be a little stronger than your average Painkiller, but it will put you on the path to blissful summer drinking in no time.

Pandan Painkiller



  • 2 oz rum
  • 1 oz rum
  • 2 oz coconut cream
  • 1 oz cocopandan syrup
  • 6 oz fresh pineapple juice
  • 2 oz fresh tangerine juice
  • salt
  • 16 oz crushed ice
  • Mint sprigs
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • Orchid, for garnish


Step one

In a bowl, combine rums, coconut cream, cocopandan syrup, 4 ounces of pineapple juice, tangerine juice and salt and mix well. Place in freezer-safe container and freeze for 24 hours.

Step two

Place frozen mixture in blender with ice and remaining pineapple juice. Blend until smooth.

Step three

Pour into a Collins glass.

Step four

Grate nutmeg over the top of the cocktail and garnish with a generous portion of mint sprigs and an orchid. Grate additional nutmeg over mint and orchid, if desired.

Contributed by Kevin Beary and Julian Cox