Robin Mead feels no pain in the Virgin Islands

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Robin Mead feels no pain in the Virgin Islands

It is called "The Painkiller", and as it contains liberal quantities of rum this is a drink that undoubtedly lives up to its name - provided that you do not over-indulge.

It is the favourite tipple of residents and visitors alike on the beautiful Caribbean island of Tortola, one of the remarkably unspoiled British Virgin Islands. Tortola is where you go if you want to experience the West Indies as they used to be, and if you are choosing a Caribbean cruise it is worth making sure that Tortola is on the itinerary.

There, everybody in the know heads for Pusser’s, in what passes for the heart of Road Town, the island’s tiny capital.

What is Pusser’s? It is hard to say, really. A mixture of shop, bar, restaurant, yacht chandlery, rum distillery, TV lounge and museum, I suppose. But as it has been on the island for an awfully long time, it has obviously got the recipe right.

The same could be said for its famous "Painkiller", which is served in a tin mug and looks like fruit juice. But this is fruit juice with a kick: the "Painkiller" does indeed include fruit juices, but it is mixed with Pusser’s own rum, cocoanut cream and nutmeg, then poured over a mug of crushed ice.

There’s wonderful Caribbean food on offer, too. As if that were not enough, the all-purpose Pusser’s building contains a huge shop filled with hard-wearing holiday gear as well as yachting necessities - and the inevitable decanters of Pusser’s rum.

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