Cocktail Club

Recipe: How to make a Blood and Sand cocktail

"The Blood and Sand was, and remains, an evocative mix of well-blended Scotch whisky, with cherry brandy, red vermouth, and orange juice," Cocktail Club host Jackson Cannon wrote.

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In every avenue of cultural expression, trends emerge, tastes evolve, fashions come and go, and what touchstones survive these tides of change and remain we know as classics of their genre. So, too, with cocktails, the bedrock concoctions that have outlasted the first Golden Age, the turn of the century, prohibition, the rise of other intoxicants and so much more to still be with us in this platinum age of drinking, are untouchable classics.

However, there is a set of drinks, that although they belong in the Great Book of Bartending, never quite gained the necessary popularity to keep them free from occasional assaults that declare them unfit for the lexicon. Proclaimed “in need of saving,” they are reworked with trendy ingredients or threatened altogether with banishment. This attack has been made on the only major local contribution to the canon The Ward Eight. It’s been levied at (blaspheme) the Jack Rose, and it most misguidedly has been employed to impugn the noble Blood and Sand.

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Created at the American Bar of the Savoy Hotel in London in the early 1920s by Harry Craddock to commemorate the breakthrough performance of Rudolph Valentino in the film of the same name, The Blood and Sand was, and remains, an evocative mix of well-blended Scotch whisky, with cherry brandy, red vermouth, and orange juice. It’s the latter ingredient that catches most of the ire directed at this drink.

Join the Boston.com Cocktail Club for mixing Scotch whisky cocktails on March 25 at 7 p.m.

I get it, orange juice is for breakfast and sloppy brunch drinks, but if handled delicately it lends an evocative citrusy texture without the sharp edge of lemon or lime to cocktails like the Petit Zinc, Bronx, or Blood and Sand.

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Hand squeeze the fruit and fine strain the drink to remove any pulp. For the Blood and Sand, mind your measure and carefully make your equal proportions. The recipe yields a malty potion with notes of ripe fruit and a long finish like grapefruit wine.

Besides the careful measure, this drink benefits from a vigorous shake. The hard back and forth, pushing and pulling the ingredients together, renders an ensemble of flavor that supports the starring role of the scotch.

What you’ll need

Blood and Sand

¾  oz. blended Scotch
¾  oz. cherry brandy
¾  oz. sweet vermouth
¾  oz. orange juice

Shake the above ingredients vigorously over ice and strain up into a cocktail glass.
Garnish with a twist of orange or cherry.


Join our next virtual cocktail class

Join us Thursday, March 25 at 7 p.m. with host Jackson Cannon and his special guest Jared Sadoian, general manager of Craigie on Main in Cambridge. This week they’ll be making cocktails with Scotch whisky, catching up about the Boston restaurant and bar scene, and sharing tips the pros use to make great drinks at home. They’ll be mixing the classic Rob Roy and Blood and Sand. Everything you’ll need is listed here with a link to purchase your Boston.com Cocktail Club Scotch Whisky kit through Gordon’s Fine Wine and Spirits.

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