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The Scorpion is a potent mixed drink and for the first time, brandy makes an appearance. It should not be that surprising because brandy had been mixed with tropical and citrus fruits long before the tiki scene was even a dream.
You Will Need: rum, gin, brandy, white wine, lemon juice, orange juice, orgeat
As is the case with many tiki cocktails, drinkers who mix up a round of Scorpions often go too far with the booze. This kind of thinking often leads to absurd drunkenness, nasty hangovers, and other sorts of craziness.
With three spirits, this is already a strong drink, so don’t burn it by overpouring. Instead, appreciate it for the delicious tropical drink that it is and enjoy the fact that you can remember it the next day.
- Total: 3 mins
- Prep: 3 mins
- Cook: 0 mins
- Yield: 20 servings
|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
See Full Nutritional Guidelines
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)
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 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.
- 1 1/2 bottles (750ml each) rum (Brugal Anejo Rum is recommended)
- 2 ounces gin
- 2 ounces brandy
- 1/2 bottle (750ml) white wine
- 16 ounces lemon juice
- 8 ounces orange juice
- 8 ounces orgeat syrup
- 2 sprigs fresh mint
- Garnish: gardenias or edible flowers, orange and lemon slices
Steps to Make It
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.
- Gather the ingredients.
- 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.
- Serve and enjoy!
- 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 drinker 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.
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.