Scorpion Cocktail Punch

Scorpion cocktail recipe

The Spruce / Cara Cormack

Prep: 3 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Rest: 2 hrs
Total: 2 hrs 3 mins
Servings: 20 servings
Yield: 1/2 gallon
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
178 Calories
0g Fat
15g Carbs
0g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 20
Amount per serving
Calories 178
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 18mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 15g 6%
Dietary Fiber 0g 2%
Total Sugars 9g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 14mg 70%
Calcium 12mg 1%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 84mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

The scorpion is a very popular tropical 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 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.

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, in true tropical cocktail fashion, rum became the spirit of choice.

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.

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. If you like this recipe, check out the scorpion bowl.


  • 1 1/2 (750-milliliter) bottles aged rum

  • 1/2 (750-milliliter) bottle white wine

  • 4 tablespoons gin

  • 4 tablespoons brandy

  • 2 cups lemon juice

  • 1 cup orange juice

  • 1 cup orgeat syrup

  • 2 sprigs fresh mint

  • Orange slices, for garnish

  • Lemon slices, for garnish

  • Gardenias or edible flowers, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for scorpion cocktail recipe
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  2. Combine all of the ingredients and pour the punch over cracked ice.

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  3. Allow it to stand for two hours.

    Allow drink to stand
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  4. Add more ice and garnish with gardenias and/or slices of citrus fruit.

    Add more ice
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  5. Serve and enjoy!

    Serve scorpion cocktail
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

Recipe Variations

  • 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.

Scorpion Bowl

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 tropical-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 drinker is given their own extra-long straw. The experience of drinking this large punch with a group of friends is fun. 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.

How Strong Is a Scorpion?

The scorpion is one of the strongest punch drinks you can mix up and is similar in strength to a single-serve shaken daiquiri. When made according to the recipe, it should weigh in no more than 21 percent ABV (42 proof), though it will get weaker as the ice dilutes the punch.