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Cocktail Hour: Blood and Sand

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 22, 2016

Mixing a cocktail with a Single Malt Whisky always brings out a few cat calls from persons who believe such a thing is sacrilege. However, having discussed the topic with more than a few of the master blenders and whiskey makers from Canada, Scotland (and elsewhere), I have found almost unanimous support for my point of view which is that a spirit of any quality may be the focus of a cocktail. In fact, ‘the better the spirit, the better the cocktail’ is a sentiment I hear often. With that in mind I have chosen to follow my chosen path and bring together a classic Scotch whisky cocktail, Blood and Sand, with the highly regarded Single Malt, the Highland Park 12 Year Old.

Blood and Sand (the cocktail) was apparently named for the Rudolph Valentino 1922 bullfighter movie of the same name. The connection is by no means certain, as the first printed recipe for the bar drink did not appear until 8 years later in the Savoy Cocktail Book (1930).  The Savoy Cocktail Book’s recipe calls for equal parts orange juice, scotch whisky, cherry brandy and Italian vermouth which makes the bar drink easy for both the home and the profession bartender to master.

Today, it is common to see recipes which replace the orange juice with the juice of the Blood Orange. Not only does this play nicely with the name of the cocktail, but the tart, almost raspberry-like flavour of the blood orange is complimentary to the bar drink making it slightly drier (and to me more appealing). When a high quality peated single malt whisky is used as well, the Blood and Sand becomes a wonderful wintertime cocktail.

For my suggested construction, I tweaked the ratios slightly to increase the light punch of smoke and to further limit the sweetness of the serving. This of course allows the Highland Park 12 Year Old Whisky to be the star of the libation.

Blood and SandBlood and Sand

3/4 oz Highland Park 12 Year Old
5/8 oz Sweet Vermouth (Martini Rosso)
5/8 oz Cherry Brandy (Bols)
3/4 oz Fresh Squeezed Blood Orange Juice
Orange Zest or Peel (optional)

Add the first four ingredients into a metal shaker with ice
Shake until the outside of the shaker frosts
Strain into a cocktail glass
Garnish with orange peel (optional)

If  you are interested in more cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more mixed drink recipes!

Note: a new review based upon a recently acquired bottle of Highland Park 12 Year Old Single Malt Whisky will publish tomorrow.


4 Responses to “Cocktail Hour: Blood and Sand”

  1. Omineca Greg! said

    Hey Chip,

    Still lovin’ the blog. I adore the Blood and Sand, and I’m glad to see you giving it some exposure. Two variations, in case you’re interested in trying something different.

    1. add a 1/4 oz of Islay to your recipe above.

    2. Use juice from the cara cara orange. I think they’re in season now.

    Anyway, Blood and Sand, great drink.

    • I am glad you are still following the blog Greg! 🙂 And thanks for the recipe suggestions, they just might find their way into a Suggested Serving at some point. 🙂

  2. Tom Fahey said

    I agree completely with the comment ‘the better the spirit, the better the cocktail’.

    When I make a Blood & Sand, I use HP12, too.

    Another very nice cocktail is made starting with an old fashioned glass filled with ice. Pour 1.5oz Macallan Fine Oak 10 YO single malt over the ice, squeeze in the juice from half a fresh lime and then fill glass with ginger ale (or ginger beer for a bit more spice).

    • Thanks Tom

      You and I populate the same universe! 🙂

      For The Macallan Fine Oak Series, I make a similar cocktail, equal parts lemon and lime juice, a teaspoon or two of simple sugar syrup, a few threads of citrus zest and a healthy splash or two of soda water. Delicious!

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