According to cocktail legend, the Scorpion Bowl had its beginnings back in the 1930s at a little bar in Honolulu called The Hut, where some storied, unnamed barkeep poured rum, citrus, orgeat syrup, and brandy over ice, garnished with an Orange, and dubbed it “Scorpion.” Vic Bergeron (“Trader Vic”) picked up the recipe a decade or so later at his bar in Oakland, tweaked it a bunch and multiplied it by about four, and thus birthed the Scorpion Bowl, a large-format cocktail now served in Tiki bars and seedy Chinese joints around the world.
Perhaps by happy coincidence, this was going down in Oakland just as GIs returned triumphantly home from the South Pacific theater after WWII, whipping the West Coast into a Tiki frenzy fueled by fantastic, over-the-top tipples in the post-prohibition era.
And one of the beautiful things about a Scorpion Bowl is that no one can agree exactly on how to make it. Ole’ Vic himself changed his recipe constantly, eventually publishing at least three versions of the drink (the 1972 version is widely regarded as canonical). Since then, there have been as many variations on the cocktail as there have been bartenders to make it. But, each centers on a non-negotiable mix of rum, citrus, orgeat syrup, and brandy, often with cognac or gin thrown in for good measure.
Click through the gallery above for a run-down of shareable cocktails around the country that are prime for group drinking.