Blood and Sand Cocktail Is a Perfect Intro to Scotch
This week for Last Call, I'm venturing into sacred ground. To be specific, I'm sharing my favorite cocktail that involves scotch. I know, I just sent a bunch of scotch purists running for the smelling salts. For those folks, the only adornment that scotch ever needs is a couple of ice cubes. For even more people, scotch is an acquired taste, at best. I love the Blood and Sand cocktail because it keeps both sides happy.
There's another hitch with scotch cocktails: They're a pain in the ass to mix. That smoky flavor clobbers almost anything you try to combine with scotch. So, you need something with a kick of its own. As any lover of Manhattans can tell you, sweet vermouth has a natural affinity for whisky. After all, what's a Rob Roy but a scotch Manhattan?
The Rob Roy is possibly the most famous scotch cocktail, but I vastly prefer the Blood and Sand. The name is a little off-putting, unless you're a fan of early cinema. It was named for a bullfighting movie starring the legendary Rudolph Valentino. The drink starts with scotch and vermouth, and it gets its trademark sanguine hue from the addition of sweet cherry brandy. A little tang from orange juice balances the cherry brandy's sweetness.
Yes, you read that right. Scotch, sweet vermouth, cherry brandy, and orange juice. It seems like something a monkey at a typewriter would have created. Turns out the combination is just about perfect. Who knew?
The drink traditionally is served straight up, but if you add more orange juice, it turns into a marvelous brunch tipple.
Blood and Sand
Blended scotch works better here; save the smoky peat-bombs like Laphroaig for drinking on their own.
¾ ounce scotch
¾ ounce sweet vermouth
¾ ounce cherry brandy (preferably Cherry Heering)
¾ ounce orange juice
Shake like hell with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.