The Art of Pairing Cocktails & Barbecue on

by Steven Raichlen

…But smoke-flavored cocktails have a long history and are traditionally made with a smoky spirit, like an Islay single malt Scotch or a Mexican mezcal. To make the former, distillers bake the malted barley in mammoth kilns fueled by peat fires. To make mezcal, the heart of the agave is traditionally slow roasted in pits full of hot rocks prior to mashing and distilling. The result: a tequila-like spirit that smells like your clothes after an evening sitting around a campfire.
To harness the unique smoky flavor of these spirits, try making a Blood and Sand—a potent combination of Scotch, orange juice, sweet vermouth and the sweet Danish liqueur Cherry Heering. The drink was concocted in the 1920s and named in honor of a bullfighting movie starring heartthrob Rudolph Valentino…

Blood and Sand on


Scotch based cocktails are a rare breed. Like a driver from Minnesota who knows how to merge onto the highway. That was for my lovely wife who thinks we Minnesotans can’t merge because we’re all too nice to cut in front of each other. It’s mostly true.

This cocktail is one of a handful of traditional scotch cocktails you can make. You start with some good scotch; you’ll need to experiment with which taste you prefer. I’ve used The Balvenie 12 year old because it’s what I have on hand. Add some orange juice. Then comes the sweet vermouth and finally, the ingredient that you probably don’t have…the Cherry Heering! This is a cherry liqueur that can be had for about $20 and it will last a long time. This stuff has been made since 1818. I bet you don’t even remember what you were doing that year! Read more about this delightful liqueur here.

The Blood and Sand is named after a Rudolph Valentino movie from 1922. Haven’t seen it, but it makes for a helluva drink. I chose not to garnish this with a cherry because I thought the drink stood up by itself quite nicely. This is an inspiring drink. You might want more than one, but drink responsibly kids (21 and over obvs). It might even inspire us Minnesotans to step on the gas and merge like a champ. Side note: It’s not about being polite on the road fellow Minnesotans. It’s about driving right, which means adjusting your speed to properly merge without disrupting the flow of traffic to a halt. Phew, I said it.

Here’s the recipe:

1 oz Scotch
1 oz orange juice
3/4 oz cherry brandy (Cherry Heering is the best)
3/4 oz sweet vermouth

1. Combine ingredients in an iced cocktail shaker.
2. Shake and strain into a cocktail glass.
3. Garnish for a cherry if you wish, but I didn’t.

Recipe courtesy of Ted Haigh from Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails

Blood and Sand at The Manhattan Cocktail Classic MCC

This drink’s name is a tribute to the 1922 silent movie Blood and Sand, which stars Rudolph Valentino as a poor young Spaniard who eventually becomes a great matador.

Blood and Sand

A Glenfacias Scotch cocktail from the 2012 Manhattan Cocktail Classic

Yield: 1 cocktail

Cook Time:10 minutes


1 oz. Cherry Heering

1 oz. Scotch, Glenfarclas 10 year

1 oz. Sweet Vermouth, Dolin Rouge

1 oz. fresh squeezed orange juice

DIRECTIONSFill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add all the ingredients and shake well, Strain the drink into a coupe. 


And lastly, a lesser known bourbon cocktail (just
something to impress your bourbon savvy friends):  The Blood and Sand (scary
name, strangely tasty drink).  This prohibition era cocktail, was named after
the movie, Blood and Sand, starring Rudolph Valentino, about a young-boy who
becomes a famous bull-fighter.
3/4 oz. Scotch Whiskey (can substitute bourbon of your
3/4 oz. Cherry Herring
3/4 oz. Sweet Vermouth
3/4 oz. Orange juice (preferably
Combine in shaker with a scoop of ice.  Shake and strain
into cocktail glass.  Garnish with orange and enjoy!
Recently, BarSmarts deemed the Blood and Sand
one of the Top 25 cocktails that every bartender should know how to make
well.  Blood and Sand on

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 on and in St Louis Magazine

..The classic Blood and Sand is an odd combination of Scotch, sweet vermouth, blood-orange juice, and cherry brandy. The smoky flavors of the Scotch are complemented by the sweetness of the orange juice, while the vermouth fills out the midpalate. Named after Rudolph Valentino’s bullfighter movie of the same name, this drink will readily defeat any winter evening.

Blood and Sand Recipe
¾ oz. scotch whiskey

¾ oz. sweet vermouth

¾ oz. Cherry Heering 

¾ oz. fresh orange juice (blood orange if possible)

Shake over ice cubes, strain into a chilled cocktail glass, and garnish with a flamed orange peel.

Heering at “Eat This in NYC”

…I’ve been to many scotch bars in the city, but one I hadn’t visited yet was Highlands in the West Village. I had walked by before and peeked in and it looks much more like a casual, hip Southern restaurant than a scotch bar that serves food.
But as I sat in the front bar area, the dark, dim atmosphere transported me back to Scotland. If the extensive scotch list and gutbomb food didn’t seal the deal, the wallpaper on the bathroom (depicting grisly scenes in a beautiful Scotland park) sure did.

We ordered the TONY list item, a classic cocktail called Blood and Sand, which is named in honor of an old movie starring Rita Hayworth and Rudolph Valentino about a bullfighter. I’m not familiar with the movie and to be honest, I wasn’t too familiar with the drink itself. I must have had it in the past, but am certainly no connoisseur. I told you I prefer my scotch, neat, not shaken, not stirred, nothing added.
The Blood and Sand is a mix of scotch (Glenrothes Special Reserve, in this case), cherry heering, orange juice, and bitters. Pretty simple and straightforward and it works well enough.
I thought the proportions here were pretty accurate – no flavor was overwhelming but you got a sense of the spicy scotch, the citrusy orange juice, and the deep touch of sweetness from the cherry liqueur. In a way, I think maybe the flavors were a little too balanced and I wanted a bit more of a contrast. It felt like something was missing. Perhaps the scotch they used was not smoky enough. I wished there was a little more play between the Blood (the cherry) and the sand (the scotch) to give it a bit more depth.

The cocktail was originally devised in 1922 for the film of the same name, starring Rudolph Valentino as a hard-drinking matador (supposedly one of his favourite roles). It can be found in cocktail books of the 20’s and 30’s, but then largely falls from the scene until this century, when it starts to appear again on the more discerning cocktail lists. This was where we found it (Milk & Honey London to be precise), whilst chewing the fat over our own cocktail bar. We met there repeatedly, and drank many variations of this cocktail whilst doing so. Whether it helped progress or not, it seemed to be an appropriate choice when it came to names…


Summit Sips Explorations in Mixology – Drink Of The Week: Blood and Sand

Summit Sips

Explorations in Mixology

You just don’t find many cocktails made with Scotch whisky. Perhaps it’s hard to produce combinations that work well together considering the prominent flavors that are typical of any good Scotch. Nevertheless, a few creations have succeeded, and the Blood and Sand is one of them. I’m not saying the world needs more Scotch cocktails. Those of us who enjoy Scotch will say it’s just fine on its own, but not everyone likes to sip spirits neat. Here’s a chance to try something that is pretty rare in the world of mixology.

As uncommon as Scotch cocktails are, you might expect a working recipe to look better on paper, but when you see what’s in this, you wouldn’t expect the combination to work. I have to say that if I set out to create a Scotch cocktail myself, it might take me a while before I would try mixing these ingredients together. Although it didn’t appear in print until the 1930s, the Blood and Sand was apparently created for the premier of the 1922 film of the same name starring Rudolph Valentino. Now, why don’t movies today come with their own cocktail?

Despite being named for a movie, the Blood and Sand is actually a great description for the way this drink looks. After the pour, a thin layer of froth swirls atop the deep red mixture and it sorta looks like blood soaking into the desert dunes. That imagery may be somewhat grotesque, but the drink tastes fantastic.

Blood and Sand
.75 oz Scotch whisky
.75 oz sweet vermouth
.75 oz Cherry Heering
.75 oz orange juice

Add ingredients to a shaker, add ice and shake until cold. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a flamed orange peel.

The choice of Scotch will greatly affect the flavor and balance of this cocktail. Some Scotch lovers would never sacrifice their single malts to a mixed drink and may opt for a blend, but I think you can get wonderful results with anything. In fact, even with blends, flavors vary wildly. I guess I am saying, don’t limit your version of this cocktail to one Scotch or another. Chances are, if you like the whisky already, it’s going to work nicely here.

Others have written that Cherry Heering is the only cherry brandy worth considering. Who am I to argue since it’s the only cherry brandy I own? Is it crazy to use Carpano Antica Formula vermouth? I don’t see why it could hurt. One more excuse to use Carpano is OK by me. You will definitely want to squeeze fresh orange juice for this (you always use fresh citrus anyway, right?). As with any cocktail, balance is important. It’s possible to mask too much of a Scotch’s flavor with the other ingredients, and that’s what happened to me the first time I used Dewar’s 12-year. Increasing the Scotch is a good option since this drink isn’t very strong anyway. Don’t be afraid to make adjustments to the proportions. The point is to enjoy your drink.

Finally, garnish with an orange twist, or if you are feeling ambitious, here’s a great opportunity to get a little fancy. Instead of using a channel knife to cut a piece of orange zest, take a regular chef’s knife and slice off a disc from the outside curve of an orange. You want this round chunk of orange peel to be about the size of a fifty-cent piece. Then, strike a match, grab the peel and hold the match about three inches above the edge of the cocktail. With the orange peel pointing toward the flame and over the glass, snap the peel sharply, squeezing a mist of oil through the flame and onto the surface of the drink! Your guests will love this fiery display, and the flamed oils will cover the drink’s surface providing an important finishing touch. Drop the peel into the glass and serve.




Legal Notice   |   Log in to graphic guideline