Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Scorpion Bowl

Anything that comes in a giant bowl with four extremely long straws and a gardenia floating in the middle must have something going for it, besides a whole lot of rum.

Buried in the basement of The Plaza Hotel in New York City was the legendary Trader Vic’s Polynesian lounge and restaurant. This was everything that you would expect from a 1950’s style “Hawaiian” inspired nightmare. Lots of dark wood, thatch covered bar and ceiling, tall tiki idols separating the tables, and a “genuine” King Kamehameha dugout canoe in the front foyer. The South Pacific at its Americanized kitchy best. This included such “island” specialties as the Menehune Pork Sliders, Crab Rangoon, and the ubiquitous PuPu Platter. Not to mention, the signature Scorpion Bowl.

The Scorpion Bowl is a “festive concoction of rums, fruit juices and brandy with a whisper of almond”, this according to the Trader Vic’s drink menu. In reality, it was an easy way to wind up on the floor with your friends rooting through your pockets to pay for the bar tab.

One particular evening, after our fourth Scorpion Bowl and realizing how little money we had left in our pockets, a very loud and very drunk party sat down at the table next to us. They ordered two Scorpion Bowls and a Rum Keg, another potent communal drink. My friend and I looked at each other and at our empty Scorpion Bowl and the half a dozen 18” long straws strewn on the table and immediately saw opportunity. When the other table got their cocktails and began sucking away, we began to piece together the straws. Three straws later we could reach the next table. We began nipping into one of their Scorpion Bowls. Victory! They were too drunk to notice an extra long straw leading to the next table siphoning one of their Scorpion Bowls, especially after they ordered two more full rounds.

Needless to say, we enjoyed two more Scorpion Bowls before reeling out of Trader Vic’s and nearly falling into the canoe on the way out.

NOTE - As with all good things in New York, The Plaza has been turned into condominiums and Trader Vic’s is long gone. For those adventurous souls, Trader Vic’s still exists in some cities, notably Atlanta and Los Angeles, but all the information can be found here : There have been a number of upstarts wannabe hipster-style tiki lounges that have sprouted up in New York, but they will always pale in comparison to the original.

And by the way, the above incident happened on an October evening in 1983, for those who remember.

Trader Vic’s Scorpion Bowl

  • 6 Oz Fresh squeezed Orange Juice (important)
  • 4 Oz Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice (important)
  • 1.5 Oz Orgeat Syrup (or Almond Syrup or Amaretto Syrup)
  • 6.0 Oz light Puerto Rican Rum (don’t be stingy)
  • 1.0 Oz Brandy
  • 16.0 oz shaved ice

  1. Blend with ice until smooth, and adjust the ice so its not too thick, and will flow up a straw with ease (like a 1/2 melted slush)
  2. Pour into a Scorpion Bowl (a Trader Vic's Classic)
  3. Top up drink with ice cubes.
  4. Decorate with a gardenia floating in the middle.
  5. Add a few straws, and share.

All text ©2010 Wait At The Bar, Inc.

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