Another great rum-based Tiki drink, scaled down for one.
By Bill Lau
Posted March 11, 2015
Ah, this drink brings back fond memories! Before we were married, my wife and I used to frequent a wonderful Chinese restaurant called Hunan Café in the Clifton Heights neighborhood of St Louis. It’s been gone lo many years now, the chef/owner Tom Hsu having moved on and opened other restaurants over the years in the St Louis area. (A quick search shows he can be found these days at Chef Hsu’s Hunan Star in Des Peres. Will have to check it out next time we get to St Louis!) But in its heyday, Hunan Café was one of the places we knew of to get really good Chinese food; it was also quite popular and busy. A visit for dinner always meant a wait for a table, which allowed us the opportunity to sit in the bar and sample some of the classic Tiki drinks offered.
Besides the individual cocktails like Mai Tais, Zombies, Rum Runners and such, there were a few large drinks intended to be shared by 2-4 people. These came in large communal drinking vessels with long straws; the Scorpion Bowl was one of these, served in a large brown bowl whose 3 supports were rather enigmatic-looking Tiki figures. We quickly became fans of this wonderful blend of rum, brandy, and fruit juices! They tasted great, were a lot of fun to share, and certainly made the wait for a table much more enjoyable.
This recipe is sized for one person, but can easily be scaled up if you’re making drinks for two or more. Where I suggest specific brands, these are my personal preferences – I’m not being paid to endorse anyone’s product. (And as a useful side note, I tried making this with one of my favorite premium light rums, Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum, which I love in my Mojitos, only to find that in this particular drink it was a bit too flavorful and overwhelmed the balance of the drink.)
A final note: you can sub bottled not from concentrate orange juice for freshly squeezed in this, but you really do have to go with fresh lemon juice – that stuff in the green bottle or yellow plastic squeeze bottle ain’t gonna cut it!
2 oz light rum (I like Cruzan Aged Light rum)
2 tsp brandy (I’ve used both St Remy VSOP and Raynal)
2 oz freshly squeezed orange juice
1 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice (originally called for additional 2 tsp, but I’ve been finding 1 oz does the job; you can always add a wee bit extra if needed to balance the sweet)
0.5 oz orgeat (almond) syrup (Monin is one widely available brand)
2/3 cups crushed ice
- Fill an old fashioned glass or Tiki mug of your preference with the crushed ice.
- Add remaining ingredients to a cocktail shaker with 6 – 8 ice cubes, shake vigorously for 15 – 20 seconds, and strain into glass or mug.
- Garnish with an orange wheel or fresh gardenia (the traditional Trader Vic’s way) if desired and serve.
Scaling Tip: Just remember that 2 Tbs = 6 tsp = 1 ounce.