Blood & Sand cocktail recipe is so easy it’s scary on

I ran through a number of ideas while trying to come up for this week’s Wet Wednesday cocktail for the Steve Dahl Show. I have an email box full of pitches for Halloween drinks, but none of them felt right for the show. Then it hit me. Blood & Sand.

The Blood & Sand is a classic cocktail, but it’s criminally underpoured. I’m not sure if it’s because people don’t think of scotch when it comes to cocktails, because it’s named after a movie no one’s heard of, or if it’s because the ingredients don’t sound like they go together. In any case, one sip and those all go out the window.

I found the recipe in five different cocktail books on my shelves, and four of the five ratios were different. I tried them all, and the original The Savoy Cocktail Book recipe ended up being my favorite. The only change I made was to use blood orange juice instead of normal OJ. I don’t know if it was the lower acidity or something else, but it struck just the right chord. Part of that might be due to using Cherry Heering, which is dry and tart, so it didn’t need that big citrus kick to balance.

In any case, the one variation that I would consider from the recipe below would be to add more scotch. There’s always room for more scotch!

Blood & Sand Cocktail Recipe

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

La Descarga presents Blood & Samba: Cachaca, Carpano Antica, Cherry Heering, OJ

It’s always a sultry night in La Descarga no matter what the thermostat says outside of the Hollywood rum bar. And yet, the Cuban-themed venue has debuted a new fall cocktail menu this week. Unlike usual seasonal cocktail menus at other cocktail bars, this one doesn’t really pay any mind to which ingredients are in season at the farmers market. Rather, inspired by classics, tropical concoctions and the LD bartenders’ boozy dreams, this new menu features an array of delicious drinks that will transport you to more tropical climes. And what makes this LD menu different from all others in the past? LD’s GM Steve Livigni said, “The biggest change on the menu is probably the fact that all of the new drinks were developed by the staff here at LD, not Pablo and I, under the guidance of head bartender Kenny Arbuckle. Kenny did most of the drinks but Meghan Malloy and Armando Conway contributed as well.”

Another favorite, even a play off the classic Blood & Sand but Scotch is replaced with Cachaca for a sweeter, quaffable cocktail. Even LD’s GM and mixologist Steve Livigni counts this among his faves.

Blood and Sand on

Recently the Utah Mixologist wrote about the reincarnation of Salt Lake City’s venerable Bar X as a cocktail bar. The cocktail menu included a classic cocktail found in the Savoy Cocktail Book (1930) that this mixologist had never tried: the Blood and Sand. The Blood and Sand was created in 1922 to capitalize on the popularity of the Rudolf Valentino movie of the same name. Researching this recipe led to Ted Haigh’s Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails, where you can find a short discussion of the history of the Blood and Sand, along with an interesting variation on the recipe. The original Savoy recipe calls for equal parts of all ingredients, and tastes pretty good, but Haigh’s recipe adds an additional quarter ounce of both OJ and Scotch and makes a perceptible improvement.

A word of warning: the color of the Blood and Sand has more sand than blood in it, which makes presentation problematic. Cherry Heering Liqueur® is reddish in color, but once the Vermouth, Scotch, and OJ are added, you end up with a distinct, brownish hue. So if you’re serving these to friends or at a party, try to use glasses with a complementary color or use some colorful cocktail picks to jazz things up. Be sure to experiment with the ingredient variations given below to see which proportions work best for you. An easy way to do this is to mix a batch using the classic from the Savoy recipe, taste it, and then add the extra quarter ounces, stir a little, and taste it again. Post your findings here to let us all know which variation tastes best to you.

Blood and Sand (Savoy)
• 3/4 oz Orange juice
• 3/4 oz Blended Scotch (Dewars® works)
• 3/4 oz Cherry Heering Liqueur®
• 3/4 oz sweet vermouth

Fill a cocktail shaker 2/3 full of ice. Add ingredients and shake until your hand gets cold. Strain into a pre-chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a cocktail (or Maraschino) cherry and ride off into the desert.

Blood and Sand (Ted Haigh variation)
• 1 oz Orange juice
• 1 oz Blended Scotch
• 3/4 oz Cherry Heering Liqueur®
• 3/4 oz sweet vermouth

Heering on Guild portal – A shadow Company Competition
A Shadow Company Competition
3/4 oz Old Bushmills Black Bush Irish Whiskey
3/4 oz Cherry Heering (a Danish black cherry flavoured liqueur or any other type of black cherry schnapps)
3/4 oz of Sweet Vermouth
3/4 oz OJ (fresh squeezed from a Blood Orange if possible)

Combine in a shaker with ice. Strain into a brandy snifter or rocks glass. Garnish with an orange twist.

The Cherry Heering and sweet vermouth give it a wonderful claret color.

Slainte. For power and profit!

Heering at……

New Cocktail – The Bossman (Whiskey, Cherry Heering, Vermouth, Lemon, Bitters)

This past Wednesday was Crispy Gamer’s CEO’s birthday. Coincidentally, on Wednesdays we often have “Crispy Cocktail Night” where someone – typically me – makes drinks for the office and we hang out playing Rock Band 2. I was asked to come up with a new drink for the occasion, and after some experimenting, created one I like.
I wanted to produce something which was bold but not overpowering, not too sweet, and could be made by the glass or by the pitcher. I decided on a whiskey-based concoction which used Cherry Heering for sweetness, lemon juice for a bit of tang, and dry vermouth to smooth things out. Here’s the recipe:
The Bossman
2 parts Canadian Whiskey (I used Seagrams VO)
2 parts OJ (glass) or 3 parts OJ (pitcher)
.75 parts Dry Vermouth
.75 parts Cherry Heering
.5 parts Lemon Juice
Generous dash of Angostura Bitters
Shake or stir with ice, and serve over ice in a rocks glass. Goes very well with birthday cake!
Hope you enjoy the drink.

Strange but Delicious on

Thursday, Aug. 19, 1926, Rudolph Valentino lay in a New York hospital bed under the misapprehension that he was going to live. His emergency surgery for appendicitis and gastric ulcers had been a close-run thing. But resting comfortably before the peritonitis set in, Valentino took questions from the press. Asked his “favorite screen character among the parts you played,” the actor did not name the Sheik. “The part I like best was my role in ‘Blood and Sand,’ ” he said. “If I had died, I would have liked to be remembered as an actor by that role — I think it my greatest.” The poor fellow did die a few days later and, alas, is now remembered as the Sheik, not as the bullfighter of “Blood and Sand.” Not only has that role been largely forgotten, but so has the strange but delicious cocktail the film inspired.

The movie was based on a book by Spanish novelist Vicento Blasco Ibáñez, who in the years just after World War I was a best-selling author in America. His novels translated well to the screen, and before Valentino took his turn in “Blood and Sand,” he starred in an adaption of Ibáñez’s “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.” But “Blood and Sand” was a particularly durable work. It was remade in Technicolor with Tyrone Power in 1941. Beyond that, the book provided the template for the bullfighting tales that would crowd fiction shelves for decades. In 1958, newspaper columnist and novelist Robert Ruark summed up the essentials of the genre: “Poor boy makes good as matador, gets spoiled by success, drinks too much and/or takes up with ruinous women, loses his courage, and catches himself on a horn.”

Blood and Sand

1½ oz Scotch
¾ oz Cherry Heering
¾ oz sweet vermouth
¾ oz fresh blood-orange juice

Shake with ice and strain into a stemmed cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry, or orange peel, or both.

Cherry Smash

1½ oz cognac
¾ oz orange curaçao
¾ oz fresh lemon juice
½ oz Cherry Heering

Shake with ice and strain into a stemmed cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry.
The “drinks too much” part of the story makes “Blood and Sand” an odd inspiration for a cocktail. I doubt Ibáñez would have been pleased. Indeed, one of his later novels, “La Bodega,” was devoted to denouncing wine for enslaving Spain’s poor.

“Blood and Sand” not only inspired a cocktail but provided the moniker for a football Hall-of-Famer. A little over 80 years ago, a couple of college players eager to pick up some beer-and-pretzel money playing pro ball — but loath to give up their last year of college eligibility — decided to adopt aliases. Passing a marquee for the Valentino pic, John McNally turned to his friend and said: “That’s it. You be Sand. I’ll be Blood.” Johnny Blood never did return to play college football, but after a few years in the pros he ended up playing for Curly Lambeau’s Green Bay Packers. As the team’s star halfback, Blood helped lead the Packers to four championships. Cheeseheads looking for their team to channel some of the legendary Johnny Blood bravado could do worse than to toast their team this weekend with Blood and Sands.

How do you make them? There’s an old gag about a screenwriter who gets hooked on the cocktails at a Hollywood bar. He begs the bartender for the recipe but is rebuffed. Finally the writer offers him $100. “You wanna know what’s in a Blood and Sand, Mac?” asks the bartender, pocketing the money. “Blood and sand.” It seems this joke was once considered funny.

What really goes into the drink? The ingredients — Scotch, orange juice, cherry-flavored brandy and sweet vermouth — can hardly be described as intuitive. Dale DeGroff, in his book “The Craft of the Cocktail,” says the drink would appear at first glance to be “a godawful mix.” But plenty of serious cocktail guides from the ’30s and ’40s included the drink, so he gave it a try: “The taste convinced me never to judge a drink again without tasting it.” A sound principle.

The right ingredients are crucial. For starters, be sure to use a cherry-flavored brandy or liqueur, such as Cherry Heering, and not the cherry eau-de-vie known as kirsch. Cherry Heering is widely available and worth having, as it turns up in a number of old cocktail recipes and even a few new ones. For his recent book “Imbibe,” David Wondrich solicited new cocktails from more than a dozen prominent mixers. One of the best came from Julie Reiner, who runs the Flatiron Lounge in New York. Her Cherry Smash is made with cognac, orange curaçao, lemon juice and Cherry Heering, and it would be good enough reason alone to buy a bottle of the cherry liqueur.

What about the OJ? The temptation is to pour a bit out of the carton. But presqueezed juice, even if not from concentrate, does not taste like the fresh article. In particular, orange juice that sits tends to lose a bit of its acidic sharpness, resolving itself into a bland sweetness. A drink that has sweet vermouth, sweet cherry liqueur and sweet orange juice needs the tang that fresh OJ provides. Better yet, try squeezing blood oranges. Not only is the name of the fruit apt for the cocktail, but the slightly grapefruit-bitter taste of blood-orange juice works wonders in the Blood and Sand.

The proportions also matter. The drink was originally constructed of equal parts of all four ingredients. But ganged up on like that, the Scotch is overwhelmed by the sweeter components. Doubling the proportion of Scotch does the trick, creating a drink on which one can be bullish.

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