Recipe Comparison – Scorpion Bowl

Steve Crane's Scorpion Bowl

After completing this recipe comparison, I have come to many conclusions, but there is one that is indisputable. I will -never- get scurvy.

The Joy of Mixology

  • 2oz light rum (used Cruzan)
  • 1/2oz brandy (used Salignac)
  • 2oz orange juice
  • 3/4oz lemon juice
  • 1/2oz orgeat (used homemade)
  • 1/2oz 151-proof rum (used Lemon Hart)

Shake with ice and strain into an ice-filled glass.

The Joy of Mixology, Gary Regan

Gary’s version is delicately balanced. You’re hit first with orange and brandy, but then you slowly flow into a delightful combination of rum and almond, finishing out with an intense smack of rum. Being the first one in the recipe comparison, I think this may end up being my base of comparison. Whew! The float of 151 definitely stays northward for much of the drink… except at the end when it hits the bottom of the glass where your straw is. Damn!

Grog Log

  • 3oz light Puerto Rican rum
  • 1/2oz brandy
  • 3oz orange juice
  • 2oz lemon juice
  • 3/4oz orgeat

Blend with 8oz crushed ice for 3 seconds. Donate to a jolly tiki mug.

Grog Log, Jeff “Beachbum” Berry

A bit more one-dimensional than our previous contender. Orangey and tart are the two things I’m getting from it. The orgeat and brandy are nearly lost under the weight of the citrus. Beyond that, it’s surprisingly smooth.


You may have noticed I just dove into the recipes without putting forth a novel of history about the Scorpion Bowl. I did this for a simple reason. I fully expect Martin Cate from Forbidden Island to post it in the comments (and with far more intensity than I could muster)!


  • 1oz gold Puerto Rican rum (used Cruzan)
  • 3oz brandy
  • 1 1/2oz orange juice
  • 1 1/2oz lemon juice
  • 3/4oz orgeat

Blend with 8oz crushed ice for 3 seconds. Pour into a lovely bowl that serves “two.”

Intoxica!, Jeff “Beachbum” Berry

Though the brandy has nearly replaced the rum, the overall balance is preserved. The lemon and orange play nice and the orgeat drops hints in the background. The gold Puerto Rican infuses just enough rum into this one to keep it in the running.

Kelbo’s Scorpion

  • 1oz dark Jamaican rum (used Gosling’s)
  • 3/4oz brandy
  • 3/4oz orange juice
  • 3/4oz lime juice
  • 1/2oz gin (used Bombay regular)
  • 1/2oz passion fruit syrup
  • 1/2oz orgeat

Blend with 8oz crushed ice for 3 seconds. Pour into any sort of crazy cup, and enjoy!

Sippin’ Safari, Jeff “Beachbum” Berry

According to the Bum, Kelbo’s would often sub vodka or gin for some of the rum in his exotic cocktails. Passion fruit syrup definitely changes the Scorpion. It muddles the other delicate flavors, yet they are still there. A bit too tart before it mellows in the angry tiki mug. Complex though… more-so than many of the others.

Trader Vic’s Bartender’s Guide Revised – Individual

  • 2oz light Puerto Rican Rum
  • 1oz brandy
  • 2oz orange juice
  • 1 1/2oz lemon juice
  • 1/2oz orgeat

Blend with 8oz crushed ice for 3 seconds. Pour into grapefruit supreme glass.

Trader Vic’s Bartender’s Guide Revised, Trader Vic

Knowing this was going to be a citrus fest like the Fog Cutter, I added an extra 1/4oz or orgeat. Even that didn’t do it… the lemon was punching through all the other ingredients making for a very “one note” drink. :) An extra squirt (probably 1/4oz) of orgeat totally changed things. Now I could taste orange, almond, brandy, like they were never there before. I wonder if Trader Vic’s orgeat syrup was simply much more potent than my homemade batch. There is no way he could serve drinks as tart as the original recipe. Incidentally, this receipt is identical to the one listed in Michael Jackson’s Bar & Cocktail Companion.

Scorpion from Steve Crane’s Luau, 1958

  • 1oz lime juice
  • 2oz orange juice
  • 2oz gold Puerto Rican rum
  • 2oz gin
  • 1oz brandy
  • 3/4oz simple syrup
  • 1oz orgeat syrup
  • 8oz crushed ice

Donate everything to a blender. Spin up like the devil for 3 seconds. Pour, unstrained, into a wisely sized bowl. Drink by yourself or with friends.

Recipe donated by Jeff “Beachbum Berry”

An absolutely delightful mix. This was obviously created by the gods to tempt even the most steadfast souls. Where-as many of the previous entries highlighted one spirit or juice over another, this one brings all the ingredients together to create a new flavor. A magic mix of each of its counterparts. It’s worth noting that this is the only potion in this comparison that uses lime juice. I can’t count the number of these I’ve made since Jeff sent me this recipe. I’ll be impressed if anyone can put forth a better recipe for the Scorpion Bowl.

KP Question

  1. Did I miss any good recipes?
  2. What’s the next recipe comparison you’d like to see?

14 Responses to “Recipe Comparison – Scorpion Bowl”

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14 Comments to “ Recipe Comparison – Scorpion Bowl”
  1. […] Fortunately, I’ve found a couple of tiki sites that have much better recipes — ones with actual complex flavors and interesting combinations. Tonight’s drink was from a recipe round-up on one of them, Kaiser Penguin: […]

  2. MrBaliHaiNo Gravatar says:

    Nice writeup. I’ll definitely give the Steve Crane version a spin sometime this week.

    I’ve also tried a number of Scorpion variations, and so far, I much prefer the Kelbo’s version (with slight variations) over any others I’ve made. I’ve also made a couple of Scorpion-esque cocktails, like the Aku Aku Lapu and the Sidewinder’s Fang, and have found them to be far superior drinks.

  3. AndrewNo Gravatar says:

    I just whipped up a Bob Crane Scorpian (delicious!) and found that Hendrick’s gin really sings in there (adds some really nice floral notes without adding a whole lot of bitterness).

    Also, w/r/t Trader Vic’s orgeat: it must be really, really sweet. The first Fogcutter I made (using the Grog Log recipe) was good but was really dominated by the lemon. I “squirted” some more orgeat into the second one I made and the flavors balanced out (and it tasted more like the one I got at TV’s (with the added bonus of having real lemon juice!)). So, I think your observation about the sweetness of Vic’s orgeat is spot-on. Also, I was using Monin’s orgeat for the Fogcutters (it worked really well in the Bob Crane Scorpion without adjusting the recipe, too).

  4. GabrielNo Gravatar says:

    Holy frijole, Rick, you didn’t knock this out in one night , did you?

    I’m definitely giving the Crane version a try as soon as my drinking schedule permits (we’re getting back into the swing of being school-age-children-bearing-parents since school starts next week and we have to be ready for the 6am wake-up). Those look incredibly good. What gin did you use in the Crane version, Bombay?

    This post reminds me how much more I need to do comparison posts, great work.

  5. RickNo Gravatar says:

    MrBaliHai, I agree that the Aku Aku Lapu and Sidewinder’s Fang are excellent tipples. I’m very interested to hear what you think of Steve Crane’s version.

    Andrew, Interesting note about the Hendrick’s. I can see the floral notes actually working quite well with the orgeat and other light flavors.

    Gabe, Recipe comparisons usually take many weeks :) That said, I think I made about 400 Steve Crane’s during the tasting since it is so damn good. I used a couple of different gins like Tanqueray and Bombay regular, but I went with bombay for the comparison.

  6. MarleighNo Gravatar says:

    I’m glad Gabriel asked, because I was going to commend you on your fortitude of liver post-Tales. I can generally manage one Scorpion Bowl per night, so I was prepared to be impressed (or concerned).

  7. MrBaliHaiNo Gravatar says:

    Well, I’m sipping a Bob Crane Scorpion right now, Rick, and it certainly is an excellent drink. I’m using Ron Matusalem Gran Reserva rum, Hendrick’s gin, and some fairly mediocre brandy that shall go unnamed. I really thought the gin and orgeat would overpower the other ingredients, but it came out very nicely balanced, just like you said it would. I definitely prefer this over the Kelbo’s Scorpion, and with a better brandy, it might well have sufficient Scorpion-fu to defeat the Aku Aku Lapu and Sidewinder’s Fang.

  8. TiareNo Gravatar says:

    What a great comparasion! i`ll definetily try the Crane version as soon as i get some brandy.

    BTW: Fantastic flower pic again…i don`t think anyone can outflower you.

  9. The Crane sounds awesome. But, ummm, where was that planet buster during MxMo: Limit One?

  10. MartinNo Gravatar says:

    > FYI, our recipe is a tweaked hybrid of the Trader Vic’s and Trad’r Sam’s
    > recipes:
    > 4 oz lemon
    > 6 oz orange
    > 6 oz silver rum
    > 2 oz brandy
    > 2 oz orgeat
    > topped with 4 oz sparkling wine
    > I wrote about it in the Difford’s Guide last year:
    > (excerpt about some of my favorite bars)
    > Trad’r Sam
    > I am frequently criticized for my love of this wonderful little dump, but
    > let me explain. Located in the Richmond District of San Francisco, Trad’r
    > Sam opened its doors sometime in the 1930s, no one is quite sure when. In
    > fact, no one is quite sure what happened to the “e” in Trader, either.
    > Interestingly, there is a story, perhaps apocryphal, that suggests Sam sued
    > Victor Bergeron for stealing the name “Trader” from him when he changed the
    > name of his place in Oakland from Hinky Dink’s to Trader Vic’s. Obviously,
    > Sam lost. No matter what, at the end of the day, Trad’r Sam carries the
    > distinction of being the oldest tiki bar in its original location in the
    > world.
    > It’s a little salty, sure. Don’t look too closely at the upholstery. But
    > go in some afternoon and pull up a seat at the bar. Let the hobo next to
    > you sleep on your shoulder. It’s OK- he might drool a little, but he won’t
    > bite. Take a good look at the magnificent curved rattan bar in front of
    > you. Notice the drop ceiling. You’d never find this in your average
    > neighborhood bar. Order a drink from the vast menu- you’ll see that they
    > all carry about the same description (“This one will knock you out”). Most
    > are poor, but there are some gems- try the “Sabotage”. Take your drink and
    > retire to one of the “islands” around the bar. Yes, the booths are named
    > after South Pacific islands; you’ll see it spelled out in rattan over your
    > head as you enter. If you’re with friends, try one of their famous Scorpion
    > Bowls. Then leave before 9pm, when it becomes intolerably packed with
    > obnoxious college kids.
    > Am I not selling you? Maybe you had to live in the neighborhood. But maybe
    > it’s just a great reminder of a time when a desire to escape to a simple
    > life in the tropics was a part of the American Experience, and small
    > neighborhood tiki bars like this one dotted the landscape. Maybe it’s
    > because Trad’r Sam was an early prototype of the tiki bar, and it’s a
    > survivor; still selling escape, good times, and potent potables after all
    > these years. When the time came to open my own place, I formulated my
    > Scorpion Bowl to be a blend of both the Trader and the Trad’r’s recipes- to
    > pay homage to the man who spread tiki around the world, as well as the
    > scrappy guy down the street who just ran a great little tiki joint.
    > Hopefully, in a cosmic way, it will help settle the lawsuit.

  11. TiareNo Gravatar says:

    Wow, this was an interesting story Martin and imagine that little place have been opened for so may years…and is still going..Being the oldest tiki bar in its original location in the world, not bad!

  12. […] Steve Crane’s Luau Scorpion, which you may recall emerged victorious from last summer’s Scorpion Bowl recipe smackdown here on KP. Go make one […]

  13. […] from Steve Crane’s Luau, 1958  (recipe courtesy Rick Stutz and Jeff […]

  14. My Blog Title says:

    This is my Excerpt…

    I saw this really msoffice 2003good post today….

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