Blood & Sand

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Cocktail History

The Blood & Sand is an equal-parts cocktail that is named for a 1922 film about a Spanish matador and was first published in The Savoy Cocktail Book, a 1930 recipe book by Harry Craddock. Unlike many classic cocktails, this one uses Scotch as a base, and it has a surprisingly sweet flavor profile, which is unexpected given its darker color.

Cocktail Ingredients

To make this cocktail, you’ll need the following ingredients:

Scotch: This is the base spirit. We went with The Famous Grouse Blended Scotch Whisky because it’s affordable and great for mixing in cocktails.

Cherry Liqueur: This gives the drink its deep cherry flavor. When a recipe specifically calls for Heering Cherry Liqueur, it does so because this liqueur has a very distinct taste that can’t be replicated by substitutes. You can use other cherry liqueurs if you can’t find Heering’s, but just know it won’t quite be the same.

Sweet Vermouth: This is a fortified wine that adds sweetness. We used Carpano Antica Formula Vermouth because it’s Alex’s favorite sweet vermouth, with dark notes of herbs, figs, licorice, cinnamon, and cocoa.

Orange Juice: This adds sweet citrus flavors for balance. We prefer to use fresh orange juice because it’s less bitter than the bottled stuff and tastes better.

Cherry: This is the garnish. We used Luxardo Maraschino cherries.

Tasting Notes

The Blood & Sand begins with faint cherry and Scotch aromas, tastes of lightly sweet orange at first, and ends with a complex and bright blend of sweet cherry, vanilla, oak, and orange.

Our Opinion of This Cocktail Recipe: The use of citrus in this drink lends just enough acidity to balance it out without turning it sour, and the whole thing leaves you with just a touch of Scotch flavor on the tongue—but not enough to put off someone who doesn’t usually drink Scotch. Kendall, who falls into that category, likened this recipe to a dessert. While Alex, who loves Scotch, was pleasantly surprised at the complexity it offered and wouldn’t tweak a thing about its specifications.

Alex’s Take: “This is one I hadn’t tried before writing this, and wow, it’s great. It looks so dark and foreboding, like a Vieux Carré or a Manhattan, but the orange makes it much lighter and more inviting in taste than it appears. The combination of flavors makes for a rich, sweet, almost dessert-like quality, while still maintaining its booze factor. This is one to have if you’re not totally sold on Scotch because it’ll make an advocate of anybody.”

Kendall’s Take: “I don’t know how else to describe the Blood & Sand other than that, not in taste but in the feeling of surprise and delight you feel trying it, it reminds me of dark chocolate. It’s slightly sweet notes rounded out by the cherry and Scotch—these flavors are all balanced so well, and I can’t really explain why. I didn’t expect to enjoy this cocktail at all because I don’t usually like Scotch, but this opened my eyes to how versatile it can be.”

Recipe

This cocktail recipe was adapted from The Essential Cocktail Book: The Complete Guide to Modern Drinks by the editors of PUNCH and Megan Krigbaum.

AuthorThe Essential Cocktail BookPrep Time5 minsRating

Ingredients
 1 oz Scotch
 1 oz Cherry Heering Liqueur
 1 oz Sweet Vermouth
 1 oz Orange Juice
 1 Cherry

Method
1

Add Scotch, cherry liqueur, sweet vermouth, orange juice, and ice to a shaker.

2

Shake for 10-20 seconds.

3

Strain into a cocktail glass.

4

Garnish with cherry.

Ingredients

Ingredients
 1 oz Scotch
 1 oz Cherry Heering Liqueur
 1 oz Sweet Vermouth
 1 oz Orange Juice
 1 Cherry

Directions

Method
1

Add Scotch, cherry liqueur, sweet vermouth, orange juice, and ice to a shaker.

2

Shake for 10-20 seconds.

3

Strain into a cocktail glass.

4

Garnish with cherry.

Blood & Sand

Tools & Glassware We Recommend

More Scotch Cocktails

If you like this Scotch cocktail recipe, here are a few others we’ve tried that you may enjoy:

Flying Scotsman: A Scotch cocktail made with sweet vermouth, simple syrup, Angostura aromatic bitters, orange zest, and an orange twist

Penicillin: A Scotch cocktail made with lemon juice, honey syrup, ginger syrup, and candied ginger

Flannel Shirt: A Scotch cocktail made with apple cider, Amaro Averna, lemon juice, simple syrup, allspice dram, Angostura aromatic bitters, and an orange peel

Saigon Lady: A Scotch and brandy cocktail made with grenadine, lemon juice, egg white, and ground cinnamon

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