DI Annual Bar Report: Brands in Cocktails on drinksint.com

By Hamish Smith


This blood orange, Cherry Heering, vermouth and scotch cocktail tends to be made with blends. It’s no surprise that Johnnie Walker came out top (27%), such is its dominance in top bars, but mixed malt Monkey Shoulder (16%) took second place. Famous Grouse was the choice in 10% of polled bars, ahead of Dewar’s and Chivas Regal.


Once again, the gins used in the Aviation are provided by the big three producers – Diageo, Pernod Ricard and Bacardi. 30% of polled bars use Tanqueray, 18% Beefeater and 16% Bombay Sapphire. Plymouth, though a little behind Bombay Sapphire, was in fourth.


This simple ginger and vodka for the masses is most likely made with Ketel One (32%), says our poll. Absolut and Stolichnaya were equal with 11% of the pie apiece. A mention goes out to Aylesbury Duck, which beat Grey Goose to the front of the queue for the podium.


The Bloody Mary is more likely to be made with Ketel One than any other brand at the world’s best bars, suggests our poll, with 33% getting behind the brand. There was fragmented opinion beyond the Diageo vodka, with Absolut being the choice for 14% of those surveyed and Aylesbury Duck for 8%.


This coffee and vodka cocktail is best made with Ketel One, according to 27% of our sample of the world’s best bars, while 22% were absolute about Absolut. Plucky Aylesbury Duck, with 10% support, continued to punch above its weight, easily knocking Grey Goose into fourth.


Diageo’s Don Julio is the most popular tequila in the world’s best bars, according to our poll, so it’s no surprise to find it’s the most popular choice for a Margarita. 22% went with Don Julio, Brown-Forman’s El Jimador had support from 11% of bartenders, as did Pernod Ricard’s Olmeca Altos.


As the most popular pisco among our sample of the world’s best bars, Barsol is the top brand for the Pisco Sour. With 36% support, that leaves a number of brands fighting over the remaining places in our three-brand list – fellow Peruvian pisco Campo De Encanto was favoured in 13% of bars, while Chilean Capel was the brand to use in 12%.


This Manhattan in tartan is most likely made with scotch category leader Johnnie Walker, says 32% of our bars. Monkey Shoulder was the second most popular with 14%, while Famous Grouse was ahead of the rest of the field with 8%.


This neo-classic is normally made with a blend of unpeated and peated scotch, but the brands to include, our poll reveals, are Johnnie Walker (24%), Laphroaig (11%) and Monkey Shoulder (10%). Ardbeg was a close fourth.

Weekend Cocktail: Blood & Sand on thefederalist.com

May 11, 2014 By

Vacations, if you’re fortunate enough to take one, are a beautiful concept. You might travel or stay at home, but you’ve reclaimed your time for yourself. You can use it as you see fit.

If you’re anything like me and my wife, though, you tend to pack a lot of activity into the short time you’re away. See this monument; visit this museum; hike this trail; make good time; back on the road; you just peed an hour ago; hold it.

I’ve started to think that may not be the best approach. I read once that when you pay for a vacation, you aren’t simply paying for the experience of being in a place. You’re really paying for the memories you’re making. They are yours to recall any time you like, the next day or twenty years on. For a brief instant you can be back there in the sun, or the woods, or the city, or wherever. In light of that, it’s best to slow down and appreciate where you are rather than how fast you’re getting someplace else.

The same idea applies to a good cocktail. So much of our experience with food and drink is contextual – if you’re having a good time, it will taste better. You can get trashed in a hurry and make all sorts of hazy memories, but taking the time to really savor a well-prepared drink is something that can add layers of enjoyment to where you are, and who you’re with, and how you remember it.

Blood & Sand

The Blood & Sand is a unique and enjoyable scotch cocktail, one of the few. Named for a 1922 movie about bullfighting and how women ruin it, the drink appeared around 1930 in the Savoy Cocktail Book.

I first had a Blood & Sand while I was traveling (incidentally, while meeting with the publisher of this very online magazine) and was immediately impressed by it. It’s easy drinking, which is not to say it is a weak drink. Very potent, as I discovered upon consumption of the second (it was that kind of meeting).

You’ll need:

  • 1 oz. Famous Grouse scotch
  • 1 oz. sweet vermouth
  • 1 oz. Cherry Heering brandy
  • 1 oz. fresh orange juice (ideally blood orange)
  • orange peel (cut into a coin shape)
  • 1 match

The Blood & Sand is a breeze to prepare. Simply add the liquid ingredients to a shaker with ice, do the needful, and then strain into a cocktail or coupe glass. Between the vermouth and cherry brandy, the drink will be suffused with red and quite pleasing to the eye. But wait, there’s more.

Cut a coin-sized disc from the orange peel. Don’t be afraid to cut deep, as the pith will aid you in what you are about to do. Light the match and hold it over the glass. Bring the peel close, and squeeze citrus oil into the flame. It will flare up, providing a dramatic touch and ever-so-gently altering the flavor. I gave the rim of my glass a light kiss with the peel, but this is not strictly necessary.

After you finish delighting those around you with your dash and elan, discard the peel and enjoy. The sweetness of the brandy and vermouth is kept in check by the scotch. The orange rounds things off and ties all the flavors together.

Fresh orange juice is a must. If they are available you can use blood orange for its sweetness and hue, but it’s not a requirement.

I chose the Famous Grouse scotch because that was how it was first served to me, and I saw no pressing need to mess with a good thing. A blend is a solid bet for this one, as a single malt may come on a wee bit strong and overpower the other flavors (though you should let your own taste be your guide). The Famous Grouse is lighter in body, but strong enough that it is not wholly subsumed by the competing flavors.

The vermouth shouldn’t be too big and complex. Carpano Antica is great, but after thorough testing I’ve determined it could be a little much for this drink. Your lighter Martini & Rossi or Cinzano will do fine, and allow the cherry brandy to shine through.

Speaking of which, the cherry brandy was also tricky for me to nail down. Much of what you’ll find on shelves tastes a bit like Robitussin, and should be avoided. Many recipes call for Cherry Heering, a Danish liqueur with strong, natural cherry flavors and vibrant ruby color. I went with a Grand Marnier Cherry cognac I had on hand, which performed very well but wasn’t quite there. The Heering is worth tracking down for this one.

The Blood & Sand is a perfect drink after a long day, whether you were at work or on vacation. Just remember to take your time and enjoy what you’re doing, wherever you are.

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The Chanticleer Society Blood and Sand

I’ve had a few of these at bars that have blown me away, but all attempts at home have left me feeling a lettle less swashbuckling than Rudolph Valentino.
I’ve made it at home using Famous Grouse, fresh squeezed orange juice, Cherry Heering, and Cinzano Rosso using the Dr. Cocktail ratios (1:1:3/4:3/4) and the cocktailDB ratios (3/4:3/4:1/2:1/2). Though the cocktailDB ratios are more to my liking, it still lacks an oomph from places I’ve had it. Though the obvious answer would be to go to said places, they’re in faraway cities so its out of the question.
So, do you have particular ratios/brands that work best for you?

** I must say I have nothing against Dr. Cocktail – in fact his book has served as the primary text in my haphazard mixology education.

Posts 30

Chad Parkhill replied on 20 Mar 2011 4:50 AM
Some thoughts:
Early versions of this cocktail use equal parts of all ingredients, so you could try 3/4 of an ounce of each, then tweak your preferred ratios from there.
Of couse, the quality of your ingredients determines the quality of your cocktail. Maybe a nicer scotch than the Famous Grouse would give it a kick? Also, are you using really fresh vermouth? If it’s been open for more than a month, it’s probably a little flat. Perhaps you could consider another brand of red vermouth? (I’ve seen a video where Diego Garcia uses Punt E Mes instead of Cinzano, and Antica Formula might be nice if the vanilla notes don’t stomp all over the other ingredients.)
Finally, if the flavours in the drink aren’t cohering together nicely, I’d be inclined to add a dash of orange bitters (Ango or Regan’s) in. I know it’s not in the original recipe, but orange bitters certainly weren’t outside of the repertoire in 1922 …

Heering cocktails at Lorensberg!

Next time you are enjoying a show at Lorensberg, do it while sipping on a Heering cocktail. Try the delicious cocktail “Prinsen” with Heering Cherry Liqueur, Famous Grouse, Campari and Juice.

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