Cocktail & Other Recipes By Spirit Rum Cocktails

Plain Killer

yellow-colored Plain Killer cocktail in a glass Tiki mug with grated nutmeg on top, served on a straw mat
Image: / Tim Nusog

Sometimes, the best tropical drinks pop up in the most unexpected places. That’s how to explain the Plain Killer, a Tiki-style cocktail that comes from James Beard Award winning chef Tory Miller of The Deja Food Restaurant Group in Madison, Wisconsin. He created it at the now-shuttered pan-Asian restaurant Sujeo as a take on the classic Painkiller, which was invented in the 1970s, far away in the British Virgin Islands. 

The Painkiller features rum, pineapple juice, orange juice and coconut cream. Miller’s Plain Killer follows this formula, but he dials back the pineapple and switches rums. Instead of using the traditional Pusser’s Rum—a Royal Navy-style rum with notes of molasses, dried fruit and island spices—he opts to use El Dorado 15-year-old rum. (In the 1980s, the Painkiller was trademarked by Pusser’s, so if you feature a different rum, you can’t call it a Painkiller—hence the Plain Killer’s tweaked recipe and name.) El Dorado hails from Guyana, and its 15-year-old expression is full of oak, coffee, dark chocolate and rich vanilla, making this cocktail a little darker and richer than the original.

The pineapple and orange juices are joined by coconut cream to round out the flavors, and a dusting of nutmeg provides aromatics with each sip. Make a Plain Killer at home to experience this BVI-inspired, Wisconsin-born drink. It will transport you to the beach, even if there’s no water in sight.


  • 2 ounces El Dorado 15-year-old rum

  • 1 1/2 ounces pineapple juice

  • 1 ounce orange juice, freshly squeezed

  • 1 ounce Coco Lopez coconut cream

  • Garnish: nutmeg, freshly grated


  1. Add the rum, pineapple juice, orange juice and coconut cream into a shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.

  2. Pour the contents, including the ice, into a Tiki mug, and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.