When I was a college freshmen, we used to go to this place in Harvard Square called the Hong Kong.  It was one of those big tacky sit-down Chinese restaurants that catered to the suburban and college student crowd, offering big plates of sweet & sour meat stuff with a side of cream cheese wrapped in fried wontons.  Of course, as a broke college student, it was awesome.  Since then, it appears the place has attempted to clean itself up a bit, and even has a comedy club going on six nights a week. I hear the open mike night attracts the Cambridge/Allston/Somerville hipster crowd at this point.

Besides cheap, fried, sugary “Chinese” food, the other thing the Hong Kong offered to broke, underage college students was a drink menu specializing in tiki-style drinks in oversize portions.  Fog Cutters, Sidewinders, Mai Tais, Singapore Slings – the whole classic lineup.  Of course, this being the 1990s and the pre-mixology era, that meant tiki drinks with cheap rum & brandy, sour mix, fruit juices from concentrate and probably some MSG.  This did not matter, for three very important reasons: (1) we were college students in the 1990s – we had no idea what good cocktails tasted like, (2) they served Scorpion bowls in these giant ceramic bowls with big ole straws that served four, and (3) most importantly, they didn’t card.   Let me repeat: They. Did. Not. Card.  They could have served Everclear mixed with OJ & Sprite and we wouldn’t have cared.   It was booze, it was cheap, and it was fruity enough to cover over the gasoline scented Bacardi 151 enough that we could stomach several bowls in a sitting.  Good times.

All of which is to say, this Scorpion tastes nothing like the Hong Kong.  It’s actually quite good.  Tasty, even.  But like the Hong Kong, its still oversized and best enjoyed with friends.


1 oz fresh lime juice
2 oz. fresh orange juice
2 oz. gold rum
2 oz. gin
1 oz. brandy
3/4 oz. simple syrup
1 oz. orgeat syrup*
8 oz. crushed ice

Combine all ingredient and flash blend for 3 seconds.  Pour into a giant mug or goblet.  Share with a friend.

* For the orgeat, use homemade or as close as you can get.  I used the orgeat from Small Hands in Berkeley.  The stuff made with corn syrup and almond extract is just nasty.  Like sticking a marzipan bomb in your cocktail.

Courtesy of Steve Crane’s Luau (1958), via Jeff “Beachbum” Berry


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