Cocktail Tales: Blood and Sand Cocktail Recipe

It's no secret that there's a national holiday for just about everything. National Ice Cream Day (yes, please), National Lazy Day (well what's Sunday Funday for then?), and National Chop Suey Day (really). So naturally, there's a National Scotch Day, even if Scotch doesn't even come from America. But nonetheless, I'm a sucker for a day celebrating whiskey. Because whiskey. So it only seemed appropriate to come to you with a Scotch cocktail recipe for National Scotch Day (My ancestors must be rolling in their graves.). And no cocktail could be more fitting than the Blood and Sand.

While Scotch whisky cocktails are on the up and up, they aren't exactly predominant on your everyday cocktail menu. For many people, they just aren't appealing, while to others, it's sacrilege to have Scotch any way but neat. But to Scotch connoisseurs' credit, most Scotch is so complex and flavorful that you don't need to mix it with anything. And if you mixed it like other spirits, it wouldn't taste good anyways. It's not like you're going to walk into a bar and ask for a Scotch and cranberry. Not to mention Scotch is typically more expensive than every other spirit.

Scotch whisk(e)y in a league of its own. Yet there have been some great Scotch whisky cocktails made in recent years, such as the Penicillin, which some may go so far as to call a contemporary classic cocktail. The Blood and Sand, however, is no new Scotch cocktail.

The history of many classic cocktails is murky, to say the least. With the Blood and Sand, most bartenders and historians are at least in agreement that its first documented appearance was in Harry Craddock’s The Savoy Cocktail Book in 1930. Harry Craddock's book is one of the most revered classic cocktail books (pictured below by Tristan Stephenson on Flickr), and one you'll find on the shelves of many of the best cocktail bars. It's believed that the Blood and Sand was named after the 1922 silent film by the same name, starring Rudolph Valentino, and considered one of the best works of the silent film actor, but not a classic by any means.

However, it's not unusual to be perplexed by its ingredients, like so many bartenders before. The ingredients of the Blood and Sand cocktail recipe: Scotch, Cherry Heering, sweet vermouth, and orange juice. Say what? It sounds a little bit like what my mom would do when I was a child, when she'd look in the cabinet and refrigerator to find what leftovers she could blend into some sort of food dish that night. We called it Surprise Casserole. The Blood and Sand's ingredients seem a bit like that, with ingredients you'd never even consider combining. It's the cocktail version of "soda suicide."

Yet it works with this cocktail. The Blood and Sand is an incredibly balanced cocktail with no one flavor overpowering any other. With that said, however, you don't get the smokiness that you'd get with other Scotch cocktails. So if you don't like Scotch cocktails, then this may be a good gateway cocktail for you. Plus, the Blood and Sand cocktail recipe is one of the easiest shaken cocktails that you could make.

Blood and Sand Cocktail Recipe

  • .75 oz. blended Scotch whiskey
  • .75 oz. sweet vermouth
  • .75 oz. Cherry Heering
  • .75 oz. orange juice
  • Orange peel to garnish

Some variations of the Blood and Sand cocktail recipe exist, such as using blood orange juice, or for a fresher drink, fresh-squeezed orange juice, but the ingredients and method are largely the same. Simply add all of the ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake. Strain into a chilled glass and serve up. How easy is that? The ingredient list may be a little confounding, but this is one delicious, balanced cocktail nonetheless.