Whoever said Scotch is a difficult ingredient to mix in a cocktail may not have tasted the Blood and Sand before. Granted that Scotch by itself has distinctive, robust flavours that make for great conversations and parties. But a sip of this spiked, sweet, and citrusy liquid may pump up your spirits like nothing else. So if you are about to pop open a bottle and in the mood to try an excellent cocktail, Blood and Sand is your perfect answer.
Inspired from a movie of the same name that tells a tragic tale of a matador who rose and fell because of love, the Blood and Sand has been around since 1922. It first appeared in The Savoy Cocktail Book in 1930, authored by the famous English bartender, Harry Craddock.
Over the years, Blood and Sand’s ingredients and proportions have remained unchanged. However, bars around the world have tried replacing its signature cherry brandy with Cherry Heering, arguing that it has a “more natural cherry flavour” than the cherry brandies sold nowadays. Some have even created alternatives like Blood and Sand No. 2, by substituting orange juice for passion fruit and sweet vermouth with Lillet Rouge. Satan’s Whiskers bar in London uses simple syrup and fresh lemon juice in their Dutch Blood and Sand.
The one thing that no one alters in this drink is the whisky. Almost every bartender stays true to the Scottish legacy of Blood and Sand that carries on. One can choose between single or blended Scotch, but we recommend Chivas Regal Blended Scotch Whisky. Its caramel, peat, and burnt orange notes mingle well with the other ingredients and make Blood and Sand complex, rich and delicious. If you like your cocktail not to be overly sweet, you can add in another whisky shot in the shaker and get ready to dance in every tune.
Mix Your Own Blood and Sand
Combine equal parts of scotch, sweet vermouth, cherry brandy and freshly squeezed orange juice in an ice-filled cocktail shaker. For a single person you can use about 25 ml of each liquid. Shake it like you mean it, and then strain and serve the drink in a chilled cocktail or martini glass. You can garnish your cocktail with an orange peel. For a perfect Blood and Sand, twist and squeeze the peel on the drink before you dunk it in. The zesty tang comes through with every sip, enlivening the palate.
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While in Tokyo a couple of years ago, I walked into Bar Helissio for an afternoon tipple.
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