When I was in Jamaica, I asked 14 of the international bartenders I was with to give me their philosophy in 30 seconds. Josh Ivanovic (at the time Bar Manager of Milk&Honey London) responded “Drink Daquiris and Margaritas, and pour Blue Drinks” I scoffed at this thinking he was joking. He responded “No, seriously… they’re delicious, people love them…and it’s FUN,” His advice completely changed my outlook on bartending. “Fun?” I seemed to recall a point in time where our craft was “fun” but when was that again? Buried somewhere deep under the shadows of Jerry Thomas and Harry Johnston, hidden somewhere on the shelf between the Savoy guide and the mustache wax, there was this illusive “Fun” and all it took was a ten second blurb from Josh to blow away the preconceived dust and cobwebs for me to find it again.
No other style of bartending exemplifies this “Fun” more than Tiki. I followed in the footsteps of Brian Miller of New York’s “Lani Kai” and began researching all the Tiki I could. In this journey I discovered the communal cocktail, “The Scorpion Bowl.” Originally a product of “The Hut,” a bar in Hawaii, and then adapted (in ever-changing recipes) by Trader Vic Bergeron, this cocktail has never been nailed down as far as ingredients are concerned. More recipes exist for the Scorpion Bowl than any other cocktail in history, with some incorporating over 27 different styles of rum. What has remained constant however, is its presentation: a large vessel, multiple straws for sharing, and a flaming Volcano in the center. The Scorpion Bowl spits in the face of pomp and pretension, and screams “Fun” louder than any other cocktail. As an added bonus, they’re delicious and people love them.
SCORPION BOWL (Trader Vic 1972)
- 2 oz Amber Rum
- 1 oz Gin
- 1 oz Brandy
- 1/2 oz Orgeat
- 2 oz Orange Juice
- 1 oz Lemon Juice
Blend ingredients together for 8 seconds, pour into a large vessel, add multiple straws, and a smaller vessel with overproof rum in the center of the bowl and ignite.