Tiki Month 2018

Every February, the formidable Doug Winship goes native, and gives his gins a break by delving deep into Tiki drinks.

I, being an amiable sort, chip in with an entry or two. This year, I decided to futz around with the Scorpion Bowl. Naturally, I went directly to the source: Trader Vic’s Bartender’s Guide (Revised) and used that as the launching pad.

Since a bowl's capacity may vary, here are my proportions, per INDIVIDUAL serving. Scale up as required.

2oz light Puerto Rican/USVI Rum (Cruzan, if quenching a regiment)
1oz cognac (Martell VS is my go-to for cocktails)
2oz orange juice, preferably fresh squeezed
1½oz lemon juice, ditto
and...do not freak out...
1½oz orgeat. No, that's not a typo.

Blend - traditionally with a top down blender, although I prefer an old fashioned Oster with a steel jar, and fitted with the "milkshake" blade - with 8oz crushed ice for 3 seconds.

Here's the key: To my palate, the published* recipe is a citrus riot. So I kept adding extra orgeat, ¼oz at a time, until the orange and lemon calmed down, and stopped bullying all the other flavors. Note: I used my homemade orgeat, so you may need a touch less or a touch more depending on how rich in almond oil yours is. Orgeat doesn't really contribute that much sweetness, as it does dialing down acidity and ethanolic hotness, which is why aged rums SING with a properly balanced Mai Tai.

Now you can taste the orange, the lemon, the almond of the orgeat, the cognac, and the rum, like never before.


P.S. You're supposed to garnish it with a gardenia. Meh. I like the pyromaniac touch better.

* Epochs ago, in a discussion with Jeff "Beachbum" Berry, we were talking about how Don protected his recipes with a fanatical level of secrecy. It seemed odd that Vic wouldn't, until you realize - this when we compared the official Mai Tai recipe from the books with one in a letter mailed to a fan - he was hiding them in plain sight, by publishing inaccurate (in varying degrees) versions in his books. Most of the time he was playing fast and loose with the orgeat and/or Rock Candy syrup. Keep that in mind Junior Sleuths.


Timath said…
I found this post linked from The Pegu Blog after being led there by The Atomic Grog on Facebook. I have had a Scorpion Bowl once in an asian restaurant that was probably far from accurate and I have made them a few times at home using the more popular recipes taking care to use quality ingredients, but I have always felt like I was missing something with this drink. That is until tonight. Your recipe completely links the ingredients together into surely what must be the intended flavor profile. This Scorpion recipe has instantly become something I will serve regularly. I made it first with "Havana Club" (Bacardi, which honestly is pretty decent), Barbancourt 5 star in place of cognac since I have none, fresh orange and lime, and B.G. Reynolds orgeat. I was instantly impressed. I wanted to try it once more tonight and experiment a bit more with some of my bottles so I stuck with the "Havana Club", this time adding 1/2 oz of Beefeater gin along with 1/2 oz Barbancourt, and switched BGReynolds to Big Allet french orgeat, which is very well priced and has worked decently in Mai Tais when I have had trouble finding anything better locally. This was just as good in a slightly different way. All I can say is thank you for redeeming this recipe!

Timath said…
Sorry, I meant lemon, not lime, just to be clear.
MDL1 said…
Glad to help, Tim. When you have the opportunity, give it a whirl with cognac. (Barbancourt is a neat sub, though.)
Timath said…
I certainly will, Joe. Thanks

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