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Black coconut ice cream inspires us to take (another) Painkiller 

Remix: The Painkiller

Last week the Greenery Creamery, a new vegan-friendly ice cream shop, opened downtown and completely took over my social media feeds. It's a given for a small food-based business to focus heavily on Instagram for marketing purposes and Greenery Creamery was no different; most of its adorable photos prominently featured their trendy black-ash ice cream and waffle cones against a background of millennial pastels. What can I say, it hit me right in the demographics.

Black-ash ice cream, a startling sweet popular in bigger cities for the past couple of years, is often flavored coconut or a similarly clean-but-creamy nut or fruit flavor. This may be because the edible charcoal used to give it its Gothy hue is sometimes made from burnt coconut shells, though the charcoal lends no flavor and usually very little texture to the ice cream. (Each shop's process and product is different, of course.)

I've used charcoal in Remix cocktails just once before – see "The really, really Black Russian," Feb. 4, 2015 – and this seemed like a golden opportunity to break it out again. With coconut gelato in mind, I wanted a coconut-based cocktail to base my Remix on, but I did the Pina Colada last month. So I settled on the Painkiller, a tiki-inflected recipe developed in the British Virgin Islands in the early 1970s using Pusser's Rum, a high-proof dark rum based on the formula issued to British Navy sailors.

The ice cream is blend of indulgent flavor and texture with a healthy-ish formula – Greenery Creamery's black-ash coconut ice cream is a vegan coconut-cream-based blend. To echo that in the cocktail, I skipped the highly processed Coco Lopez sweetened coconut cream usually used and substituted coconut water. (It's questionable how "not processed" it would be, but coconut LaCroix could also be used.) To keep the flavors sweet and streamlined, I omitted the orange juice and call here for fresh-pressed pineapple juice. (Don't even bother with canned juice. Blech.) And instead of Pusser's, I swapped in blackstrap rum for its caramelly molasses flavor profile, significantly reducing the ABV. See, healthy-ish can be tasty too.


2 ounces navy (overproof) rum

4 ounces pineapple juice

1 ounce cream of coconut

1 ounce orange juice


Put all liquid ingredients into ice-filled shaker. Shake, strain into glass over fresh ice, and garnish with a sprinkle of nutmeg.


8 ounces coconut water, divided

2 capsules activated charcoal

1/2 ounce blackstrap rum

1 1/2 ounces white rum

1 ounce fresh pineapple juice

sparkling water

fresh nutmeg

First, make the ice: Empty two capsules of activated charcoal into 6 ounces of coconut water, mix thoroughly, and freeze in an ice mold. (Note: It may stain plastic.)

Next build the drink: Over the resulting black ice, pour rum, remaining coconut water and pineapple juice. Top off with sparkling water and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg..


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