The scorpion bowl is an alcoholic drink that originated from Jamaica, where it was often made for Carnival celebrations.
This tropical cocktail got its start as part of the Mardi Gras celebration, but has since become a staple at parties across America.
The scorpion bowl gets its name for obvious reasons – it contains several different types of liquors mixed together to resemble a scorpion’s pincers.
What Is A Scorpion Bowl?
Scorpions are arachnids belonging to the class Aranae.
They have eight legs, two pairs of antennae, and one pair of eyes.
Their body consists of a head, thorax, abdomen, and tail.
Scorpions can be found all over the world, although they typically live underground or in burrows.
In some cultures, scorpions are considered sacred creatures.
In India, people believe that if a person sees a scorpion, he will die within three days.
If the creature stings him, however, his death will come much sooner.
To celebrate this belief, scorpions were once carved into bowls and placed on altars.
Because the scorpion is believed to bring good luck, these bowls became known as “scorpion bowls.”
Today, most scorpion bowls contain fruits such as pineapple, orange juice, mango, and guava.
Some drinks also include rum, vodka, and tequila.
This mixture is then poured into a large glass bowl and garnished with ice cubes and fresh mint leaves.
As long as you don’t eat any scorpions (or other insects), you should feel fine after consuming a scorpion bowl.
How Do You Make A Scorpion Bowl?
You don’t have to be Jamaican or even know what a scorpion looks like to enjoy this tasty libation!
There are numerous variations of the scorpion bowl, so there’s no way anyone can say exactly how to make one.
But if you’re looking to create your own version, here’s what you need.
- Rum (you can use dark rum, light rum, spiced rum, white rum, etc.)
- Ginger beer
- Soda water
- Orange juice
- Pineapple juice
- Cranberry juice
- Blue Curacao liqueur
- Angostura bitters
- Mint leaves
- Ice cubes
- Bourbon whiskey
Now all you have to do is mix everything up into a delicious cocktail!
What Are The Ingredients In A Scorpion Bowl?
There are many variations of this cocktail, so we will discuss what makes up a typical one below.
As you can see above, there are quite a few ingredients used to create this concoction.
There are seven main components that make up most scorpion bowls:
- Rum (sometimes replaced by brandy)
- Juice from citrus fruits such as orange or grapefruit
- Lemon juice
- Coconut water
Some versions also contain grenadine syrup, which gives the mixture a pink color.
Most people use dark rum when making scorpions, but white rum can be substituted if desired.
If using white rum, add 1/4 cup of sugar to increase the sweetness level.
While gin is not a traditional component of a scorpion bowl, it can be added depending on your preference.
Some bartenders prefer mixing the two in equal parts, while others simply swap out the gin for another type of liquor.
3. Juice from Citrus Fruits
A common ingredient in scorpion bowls is fresh citrus juice.
Depending on how much time remains before the party starts, some bartenders may leave their cocktails unfinished until they have enough time to finish preparing the rest of the drinks.
This way, guests don’t get left without anything to consume during the festivities.
4. Lemon Juice
Adding lemon juice helps brighten the flavor profile of a scorpion bowl.
This is especially important if the other flavors tend towards being too sweet. However, adding more than 2 tablespoons will cause the cocktail to taste sour.
If tequila isn’t available, you can substitute another spirit like bourbon.
Adding extra sugar won’t help here because these spirits already have plenty of sweetness, but you could try swapping out the lime juice for another citrus-based liqueur.
6. Coconut Water
It’s possible to find coconut water in grocery stores now, but you might want to consider buying the canned version instead.
These cans aren’t only cheaper than frozen options, but they also come pre-sweetened.
You would need to add additional sugar to any beverage containing coconut water after purchasing it.
Finally, moonshine is something that you probably wouldn’t think about including in a scorpion bowl, but sometimes it really works well.
In fact, some bars even offer special scorpion bowls with varying amounts of moonshine included.
How Do You Serve A Scorpion Bowl?
Scorpions have eight legs (hence the “bowl”).
Traditionally, your scorpion bowl will be put into a large ceramic bowl shaped like a scorpion.
This bowl can either sit on top of a table or stand up by itself, depending on how much space you have available.
You may also choose to use a small glass dish instead if you want something smaller than a regular bowl.
If you don’t already own any bowls, you should definitely get some before starting this project.
They make this process easier because they help keep everything organized.
You’ll need two cups of pineapple juice, one cup each of orange juice, cranberry juice, passionfruit puree, fresh mint leaves, lime juice, ginger syrup, and rum (or other liquor of choice).
Combine these liquids in a pitcher and stir until thoroughly combined. Now add another cup of rum and mix well again.
Take all of your mixing equipment out onto your countertop and place your mixing vessel there.
Make sure your scorpion bowl is sitting upright next to the mixing area so that you can easily pour liquid into it.
Pour about half of your mixture into the bowl and then slowly pour the rest of it over the top.
Use a spoon to stir around the inside walls of the bowl while pouring to ensure that none of the sides stick to the bottom of the bowl.
Continue stirring until the entire bowl is full of liquid.
Once you finish filling the bowl, carefully remove it from the mixing station and place it back on the table.
If you want to spice things up even more, sprinkle a little salt over the top of your scorpion bowl.
Then take the lid off of your mixing station and begin to shake vigorously.
Shake the scorpion bowl in circles three times clockwise and then once counter-clockwise.
Repeat this shaking action until you hear the sound of ice cubes clinking together.
When you think you’ve shaken enough, stop shaking and let the scorpion bowl settle down into whatever shape it wants to take.
Remove the scorpion bowl from the mixing station and set it aside somewhere safe.
Your scorpion bowl will continue to thicken as it sits, so try not to open the container too soon!
Now comes the fun part – decorating your scorpion bowl!
Start by placing your scorpion bowl upside down on a flat surface.
Take your favorite utensils and cut shapes into them to look like claws, pinchers, and stinger parts.
These decorations will give your scorpion bowl character and make it feel special when guests arrive.
Next, grab some scissors and snip pieces of plastic wrap into long thin strips.
Wrap each piece tightly around the outside edge of your bowl to create a decorative border.
Start at the bottom edge and work your way upward around the circumference of the bowl.
Be careful not to tear the plastic wrap when wrapping along the edges.
How Many People Does A Scorpion Bowl Serve?
A typical scorpion bowl will contain about six ounces (170 ml) of liquor, which makes it enough to serve one person.
However, if you want more than just one person to enjoy this boozy treat, then make sure your scorpion bowls are large enough to hold more than two servings.
What Is The Origin Of The Scorpion Bowl?
You can find scorpions throughout the Caribbean, so it makes sense that this drink would have been created there.
However, the first recorded mention of the scorpion bowl dates back to 1868 when a bar owner named Charles Waring invented the concoction using his own liquor recipes.
Waring called his new drink “a blend of rum, pineapple juice, orange and lime marmalade, all topped off with Jamaican ginger beer.”
In the early 20th century, the Scorpion Bowl gained popularity among carnival revelers who were looking for something refreshing after having enjoyed hours of dancing and drinking.
During these times, many bars began offering their patrons scorpion bowls, which soon became popular party drinks in New York City.
Eventually, the drink spread to other parts of the country, making its way into American homes through the cocktail revolution of the 1920s.
How Did The Scorpion Bowl Get Its Name?
Scorpions are known for their venomous sting, which can cause paralysis or even death if not treated immediately.
This potent bite isn’t something you want a drink named after!
In fact, there is no evidence that the scorpion bowl actually has any real link to these creatures.
Instead, the drink got its name because it resembles the shape of a scorpion’s claws.
However, some believe that this resemblance may have been intentional.
According to one story, a Jamaican woman working in New York City created this drink as a way to make money during Prohibition.
Her idea was to sell it in glass jars decorated with scorpions, but she didn’t have enough material to create all the necessary pieces so she used clay instead.
Other stories claim that the original scorpion bowl recipe came from the Caribbean island of St. Lucia.
These tales say that the drink was invented by a man who couldn’t find a suitable vessel to hold his liquor, so he carved out a small bowl from stone using only a knife.
He then added citrus juice, sugarcane, and rum before serving it up to guests.
Whatever the truth behind the origins of the scorpion bowl, people around the world enjoy making them today.
In fact, they are such a popular party drink that many bars now serve them year-round.
Is The Scorpion Bowl Dangerous?
Scorpions are typically considered harmless creatures, so you wouldn’t expect them to be harmful when consumed.
However, they can give people allergic reactions if ingested, so it’s important not to consume a scorpion bowl unless you know what you’re getting into.
Some recipes call for large amounts of ginger beer or other non-alcoholic beverages like orange juice, which may cause serious stomach problems if taken too quickly by someone who doesn’t normally have a problem with strong flavors.
If this happens, seek medical attention immediately.
If you do decide to try out a scorpion bowl, make sure to check the ingredients list before consuming any of the cocktails.
What Is The Alcohol Content Of A Scorpion Bowl?
Scorpion bowls are typically made with rums, which contain between 35% and 40% ABV (Alcohol by Volume).
There are some versions that use tequila instead of rum, however these tend to be much weaker than their more traditional counterparts.
If you want to create your own version of this unique beverage, there are two main ways to go about it.
You could simply mix up any type of liquor with juice, or you could purchase premade mixes, like the ones available online.
Whichever option you choose, remember that most scorpion bowls will have a higher percentage of alcohol than other cocktails.
If you aren’t used to drinking strong drinks, then stick to low-proof options when making one at home.
How Can I Make A Scorpion Bowl Nonalcoholic?
If you want to avoid any alcohol in your scorpion bowl, you need to take care when choosing what ingredients go into the mix.
There are two options here.
You could either substitute all-fruit juice (like orange or pineapple) for the rum, which would result in a less potent beverage.
Or, if you have access to fresh herbs, you can add them to create something similar to a daiquiri without using any spirits.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
Once you decide how to flavor your scorpion bowl, you will also need to figure out what type of vessel you should use.
This depends entirely upon the size of your guests and their preferences.
You might choose to serve the scorpion bowl in a large glass tumbler or even in a clear plastic cup.
If you plan to give this cocktail away, however, it may be best to stick with a smallish vessel like a shot glass.
Whatever container you opt for, make sure it is sturdy enough to withstand heat and shaking well before serving.
We recommend not filling more than half full.
Once you fill up the bowl, you will then need to shake vigorously until everything is combined thoroughly.
Once you do, pour the contents back into the same vessel they were originally mixed in and garnish with lime wedges or slices of cucumber.
- 1 scorpion bowl
- 3 cup crushed ice
- 10 fluid ounces pineapple juice
- 8 fluid ounces fresh orange juice
- 3 fluid ounces fresh lemon juice
- 2 fluid ounces gin
- 2 fluid ounces 151 proof rum
- 2 fluid ounces light rum
- 2 fluid ounces vodka
- 2 fluid ounces grenadine syrup
- 1 fluid ounce dark rum
- 8 maraschino cherries
- 4 pineapple chunks
- Crushed ice should be put into a big pitcher.
- Pour pineapple juice, orange juice, lemon juice, gin, 151-proof rum, light rum, vodka, grenadine, and dark rum over ice; stir well.
- Pour everything into a large, fancy cocktail glass. Straws, cherries, and pineapple are used as garnish.