|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
The scorpion is a very popular tiki cocktail that is most often served as a punch. It's a classic recipe from the mid-1900s and, over the years, ingredients were added, subtracted, and multiplied. It is very rare to find two scorpion recipes that are alike.
For most scorpions, rum is considered an essential ingredient and you'll almost always find orange juice and orgeat syrup. You can also serve this punch in a scorpion bowl with a shot of rum flaming in the center like a volcano.
The story of the scorpion is that it was a Hawaiian cocktail served with okolehao, a sort of local moonshine. Victor Bergeron, of Trader Vic's fame, enjoyed it on one of his trips to the islands and brought it back to the mainland. In true tiki fashion, rum became the spirit of choice.
This recipe comes from "Trader Vic's Book of Food and Drink" (1946). Unlike some newer scorpion recipes, just one rum is required. It is filled with interesting flavors and everything in it makes it an iconic tiki cocktail.
This recipe should serve about 20 drinks, making it a great party punch. Bergeron suggested garnishing it with a gardenia. However, as Dale DeGroff suggests in "The Essential Cocktail," an edible flower, or "humble slices of orange and lemon and a mint sprig" will do just fine.
Bergeron's method for making his scorpion is delightfully simple. Notice how he suggests letting it sit for two hours. This allows for proper dilution and brings the punch's strength down while taming the flavors so it's perfectly enjoyable. Many punch recipes would do well with the same treatment.
Combine all of the ingredients and pour the punch over cracked ice.
Allow it to stand for two hours.
Add more ice and garnish with gardenias or slices of citrus fruit.
While Bergeron's scorpion is considered to be one of the original and authentic recipes, there are no real rules when it comes to mixing it up. You can add or subtract ingredients as you wish, just like others have done countless times.
Some ideas to get you started on a custom scorpion include:
Pour both dark rum and light rum in equal parts
Substitute the gin with vodka, or use equal parts of both
Use equal parts orange juice and pineapple juice
Add grenadine to sweeten the scorpion and give it a blush pink color
Blend the ingredients with 2 cups of ice, then serve it over ice
In his book, "The Craft of the Cocktail," Dale DeGroff has a recipe for a single drink that is quite tasty as well. That recipe pours one shot each of rum, brandy, and orange juice, then adds lemon juice along with both simple syrup and orgeat to accent the flavors.
The scorpion bowl is both a drink and a vessel for serving punch to a small party of four or five people. They are a common site at tiki bars and Chinese restaurants.
A scorpion bowl is a small punch bowl of about 32 ounces that sits on a pedestal. The bowl is often ceramic and decorated in lavish tiki style with bright colors. In the middle, is a small "volcano" bowl that is designed to be filled with overproof rum and lit on fire.
The scorpion bowl is set on a table and each drinkers is given their own extra-long straw. The experience of drinking this large punch with a group of friends is a ton of fun. You don't need a local tiki bar to enjoy it because it's relatively easy to find the bowls in online stores.
The actual drink that goes into the scorpion bowl can be anything you like. Many people choose to mix up a variation of the original scorpion recipe, though the volume does need to be cut down to account for the smaller bowl.
Be careful when drinking and playing with fire. Do not let anyone reach or lean over the flaming volcano. Hair and clothing can catch on fire very quickly, especially when fueled with alcohol.