How to Make the Scorpion, or a tiki cocktail with a helluva sting

How to Make the Scorpion Tiki CocktailOkay, I get it.  Normally strong cocktails have a bite, not a sting.  But this one is called the scorpion, so did you really expect me to pass that up?  The scorpion is a veteran heavyweight of the tiki world (with almost two standard drinks of alcohol!) and its history is legendary.  But before we get to the complicated discussion of origin stories, let’s learn how to make a simple version of the cocktail.

The Scorpion
  • 0.75 ounces Dark Rum
  • 0.75 ounces Light Rum
  • 0.75 ounces Brandy
  • 0.25 ounces Orange Liqueur (such as Triple Sec)
  • 1.5 ounces of orange juice
  • 0.5 ounces of lime juice
  • garnish with a citrus wedge

Start by adding ice to your shaker and squeezing in the juice of the lime and orange.  The fresh citrus really make this cocktail pop but if you don’t have any fresh citrus ready, bottled lime and orange juice will do the trick.  Once the citrus juices have been added, continue to add in the spirits.  Then shake shake shake.  Once you have the cocktail all mixed up, pour it into a highball glass filled with ice.  Garnish with a citrus wedge and it is as simple as that. You’ve got yourself a wonderful scorpion.

Now for the history.  There are more “authentic” versions of the scorpion than any other tiki cocktail – a feat that is impressive as many tiki cocktails have at least half a dozen variants.  What is known of the scorpion’s origins is that it was first created in the 1930s in Honolulu, Hawaii at a bar called The Hut.  An unknown bartender mixed rums, citrus juice, orgeat syrup and brandy over ice and after garnishing with an orange, presented it as the “Scorpion” to his almost certainly inebriated guests.  From there, tiki legend Victor “Trader Vic” Bergeron picked up the drink, dubbed it the “Scorpion Bowl” and elevated to the status of a great tiki cocktail along with the likes of the Mai Tai and Fog Cutter.  Trader Vic himself published three different variants of the Scorpion Bowl, which was served to groups of eager drinkers in an ornate vessel with legs that looked like topless Tahitian women and a gardenia floating serenely on top.  The drink was then shared through the use of several straws.

The scorpion quickly grew popular and as it spread many bartenders put their own spin on the cocktail.  The variant in this post is the simplest and cheapest to make and although it lacks the orgeat syrup than many would say is required to make this cocktail “authentic” serves quite well to get the right flavor profile.  We will dabble in other variants of the scorpion later, once we have explored some of the other great tiki cocktails.  Until next time on Tiki Monday, sit back, relax, and enjoy the power of the scorpion and remember that the week is just getting started.

Total cost per drink? ~$1.12

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Posted in Brandy, Cheap Cocktails, Rum, Tiki Mondays

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Nick McAfee
Nick McAfee is a student of Princeton University and is passionate about mixology. As a student with a low monthly income, he has developed ways to create simple cocktails with complex flavors from inexpensive ingredients. Learn more about Nick and Broke & Thirsty.
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