It’s Mixology Monday time again, this month hosted by Gwen at Intoxicated Zodiac with the theme of Orange. Well actually it’s a bit more complicated than that, relating to the star-sign Leo (my own sign, coincidentally), but head over to Intoxicated Zodiac for the full run down.
I use orange bitters and orange zest quite regularly, and Cointreau like it’s going out of fashion, but it is rare I make use of actual orange juice so I wanted to find a cocktail which made good use of it. Whilst browsing The Savoy Cocktail Book I came across a recipe for “Blood & Sand”, a drink that doesn’t have the most appetising of names, but does have an interesting set of ingredients.
The drink was apparently created in 1922 for the premier of Blood and Sand, a film staring Italian actor Rudolf Valentino, although the 1930 reference from The Savoy Cocktail Book seems to be the earliest it appears in print. I’ve never made a cocktail using Scotch before – ironically given my location in Britain, I’ve never been a massive fan of Scottish whisky. However, the combination of ingredients, as well as the odd name, intrigued me enough to give it a try…
- ¾ shot Scotch whisky
- ¾ shot cherry brandy
- ¾ shot sweet vermouth
- ¾ shot orange juice
- Shake well with ice and fine strain in to a cocktail glass.
The Blood & Sand has an amazing rich red colour. It’s initial taste is very sweet, with the vermouth leading the flavour. The cherry and orange hang around in the background with the flavour of the Scotch almost entirely masked by the sweetness of the other ingredients. It wasn’t sickly sweet, and provided an interesting amalgam of flavours, but it wasn’t as balanced as it could be.
The Joy of Mixology lists a second recipe for this drink which cuts back on the sweeter ingredients and allows more of the Scotch flavour through. While still not perfect to my tastes, it was definitely more balanced than the original recipe, allowing a richer set of flavours through. My friend who is a big Scotch drinker, but not much of a cocktailian, loved it.
Whilst researching for this post I came across a further variation posted by Paul, which sounds like it might work well. I also second Paul’s recommendations of fresh orange juice and a decent cherry brandy like Cherry Heering – a cheap brand like Bols or DeKuyper would send this drink in to sugar overload.
If you liked this, the barman recommends...