“They were coded so that even if a bartender wanted to go to another establishment, they didn’t know what was actually in the drink,” she said.
This is why so many variations of classic tiki drinks exist — and why it’s hard to pin down the original recipes. But, according to Ms. Mustipher, a scorpion bowl should involve dark Jamaican rum, cognac, gin, citrus and orgeat.
Orgeat, a sweet almond syrup often perfumed with orange-flower water, is essential in rounding out the layers of hard booze. A good orgeat, subtly nutty and aromatic, smooths the scorpion bowl’s sharp edges. A lesser one amplifies the fun-house vibes and steers the final drink artificially sweet. Both Ms. Mustipher and Ms. Reiner suggest looking for a higher-quality option online or making your own.
While quality ingredients are central to any superior cocktail, the scorpion bowl’s success hinges on the final garnish. Outfit your bowl in orchids, citrus peels, pineapple wedges, silly straws, fire. Whatever your garnish, choose a gluttonous path.
“The goal is that when you bring it out, people’s eyes get wide and their mouths open, and they want to clap for the drink,” Ms. Reiner said.
The bowl itself can be a classic volcano dish decked with palm trees and hula skirts, but it doesn’t need to be. Smaller soup tureens or that punch bowl collecting dust in your top cabinet work just as well. Banish thoughts of individual glassware, and turn your attention to reusable metal or outrageously patterned paper straws.
Finally, pick your companions wisely. You should either know and love the people you’re drinking with, or be willing to get there fast. You’ll be sharing, photographing, crashing heads together and forgetting whose straw is whose all night. Improvise a toast, light something (carefully) on fire, repurpose garnishes as outfit enhancers — in other words, let the evening be a raucous tribute to joy.
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