Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The Blood and Sand Cocktail

Blood and Sand Cocktail

Named for a Valentino movie

Ready for a scotch-based drink inspired by a bullfighting flick? Of course you are!

In 1922, Rudolph Valentino was at the height of his fame. Cinemas everywhere were showing his latest work, Blood and Sand. It was thrilling stuff.

And this namesake drink does the film justice. A mix of scotch, Cherry Heering, sweet vermouth, and orange juice, the Blood and Sand Cocktail smolders with dangerous allure. Just like Valentino himself, you might say.

Still not enough to persuade you? Well, there’s also a tequila version of this cocktail, which is perfect for Cinco de Mayo (more about that in the Notes).

Olé!



Blood and Sand Cocktail

Recipe: The Blood and Sand Cocktail

Last month, when discussing the Rob Roy Cocktail, we noted that there aren’t many scotch-based cocktails. Well, there aren’t. But the Blood and Sand is another of the few.

A recipe for the Blood and Sand first appeared in print in the 1930 edition of The Savoy Cocktail Book. The classic recipe calls for equal parts scotch, Cherry Heering (cherry brandy), sweet vermouth, and orange juice. That makes a pretty sweet drink, though. We prefer more modern, dryer versions that use two parts scotch and one part each of the other ingredients.

Fresh-squeezed orange juice works best in this drink, but you can use the bottled “fresh” stuff in a pinch. And if you have blood oranges, they’ll add extra color.

Traditionally, the Blood and Sand is served straight up in a cocktail glass. But we also like it on the rocks.

This recipe takes about 5 minutes to prepare, and serves one.

Ingredients
  • 1½ ounces scotch whisky (we prefer blended; see Notes)
  • ¾ ounce Cherry Heering liqueur
  • ¾ ounce sweet vermouth (Italian red vermouth)
  • ¾ ounce fresh-squeezed orange juice
  • orange twist for garnish (optional; may substitute maraschino cherry)
Procedure
  1. Combine all ingredients (except garnish) in a cocktail shaker half-filled with ice. Shake until well chilled (about 20 seconds).
  2. Strain into a cocktail glass (preferably one that’s been chilled; may also serve in an Old-Fashioned glass over ice). Add an orange twist for garnish, if you like, and serve.
Blood and Sand Cocktail
Notes
  • Scotch aficionados swoon over single-malt scotch. But for cocktails, we prefer to use blended scotch. It’s less expensive, and the flavor works better. But if you insist on using single-malt, you’ll have a wonderful drink.
  • Any name-brand blended scotch will work well in this drink. If in doubt, ask the friendly folks at your liquor store.
  • Cherry Heering is a sweet, ruby-hued, cherry-flavored Danish liqueur (technically, it’s cherry brandy). We use it mainly as a cocktail ingredient. But you can also enjoy it straight, either chilled in a cordial glass or on the rocks.
  • You can substitute tequila (or bourbon) for scotch in this drink. If using tequila, we recommend a nicely aged reposado.
  • The Blood and Sand Cocktail is a favorite at Tiki-Ti, the famous Los Angeles Tiki bar. They generally serve it on the rocks. When they pour a tequila version, the whole bar (it’s a small establishment) chants Toro, Toro, Toro! as the bartender adds tequila to the drink. Sounds like our kind of place. 
  • Valentino’s screen version of Blood and Sand was based on a 1908 novel by Vicente Blasco Ibáñez (in Spanish, the book is titled Sangre y arena). 
  • The first movie adaptation of the book was directed by Ibáñez himself in 1916. But the Valentino version of 1922 became much more famous. Another screen adaptation appeared in 1941, starring Tyrone Power, Linda Darnell and Rita Hayworth. And it was remade once again in 1989, with Chris Rydell and Sharon Stone. 
  • So what’s the plot? A poor village boy (Juan Gallardo) grows up to become one of Spain’s great matadors. (Small town boy makes good.) He marries his childhood sweetheart. But once he becomes a celebrity, he begins to lust after a rich widow. So it’s a love triangle. The usual, ahem, BS. 
  • Valentino played the part of Juan Gallardo (of course). He considered Blood and Sand his best film, and hoped to be remembered for it. But he was probably best known during his (short) lifetime for his role in The Sheik, a 1921 desert-romance potboiler.
Blood and Sand Cocktail

In the Ring

“Swell drink,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “I should put on my toreador pants.”

“That would be alluring to a Latin-lover type,” I said. “Such as myself.”

“That comment was a red flag,” said Mrs K R. “Careful. I might charge at it.”

“And wound your matador of mixology?” I said. “We should be dashing off for love in the shade!”

“Or death in the afternoon,” said Mrs K R.

Bull’s eye.

You may also enjoy reading about:
Rob Roy Cocktail
Rosita Cocktail
Hula Hula Cocktail
Singapore Sling Cocktail
Straits Sling Cocktail
Death in the Afternoon Cocktail
Or check out the index for more

72 comments:

  1. Another gorgeous creation! I'd be willing to sip on the tequila version on Friday :)

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    1. Hi Liz, we like both the scotch and the tequila versions of this drink. You'll have to do a taste test to see which you prefer! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  2. What a beautiful drink! I really enjoy scotch but I've never tried this cocktail--it sounds delicious though!

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    1. Hi Kelsie, since you like scotch, bet you'll really like this! It's a fun drink. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  3. You must have so much fun with these cocktails. Would love to try both versions to see which I like better. Thanks for sharing, always learn something new;)

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    1. Hi Cheri, we do have fun with them! And they're our favorite posts to write. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  4. Wow, that is just a gorgeous cocktail. Don't you think it is too beautiful to drink it off? LOL

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    1. Hi Holly, never too beautiful to drink! You can always make another to look at. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  5. It's a beautiful cocktail, I particularly love the garnish (which, by the way, I recently perfected for a really interesting photo shoot).

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    1. Hi Eva, cocktails are all about the colors and the shape of the glass and the garnish. It's pretty easy to do an "OK" garnish, but a really good looking one does require a bit of work (at least for me). Thanks for the comment.

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  6. A little creepy name but it looks & sounds tasty.

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    1. Hi Pam, the name is a bit creepy, isn't it? Good drink, though. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  7. Wow, that is just an awesome cocktail. Very tempting and nice.

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    1. Hi Ritu, this really is tempting, isn't it? Good stuff! Thanks for the comment.

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  8. I'd swap out Basil Hayden's Bourbon, for the scotch, drink it straight up and watch the film while sipping away, that is--the updated version!
    It's a great name for a drink and seems like one should be relaxing on the beach while drinking it. Beautiful red color too. It's a must, maybe tonight! 😉 If only we could make such neat clean twists here! What's the secret?

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    1. Hi Pam, the secret to the twist is to roll it tightly around something round (like a chopstick or a straw) and then slightly press both ends inward to help set the curl. Then repeat about a dozen times while you're taking the pictures! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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    2. Great, John! I'll try it! Thanks for the help! My pictures will never be as fine as yours!

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    3. Hi Pam, have fun practicing your twists! :-)

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  9. I love the color of this drink - so perfect for summer! I tried scotch for the first time a couple weeks ago and really enjoyed it.

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    1. Hi Laura, scotch is nice, isn't it? And works really well in this drink. But then, the tequila version is really good too! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  10. I have never een heard of this movie, now I am curous. But yeah it is perfect for Cinco de Mayo! And I love Scotch. it's a matador of a drink ;-)

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    1. Hi Evelyne, scotch is indeed a matador or a drink! Particularly the single malts that I know you favor. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  11. Hahaha! Oh to be a fly on the kitchen wall when you and Mrs. KR are sampling drinks and eats! Seriously so love the back and forth y'all have going! And wow - what a "smouldering" drink this is! Gorgeously colored - almost too pretty to sip on...almost...

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    1. Hi Shashi, no drink is too pretty to sip on! That's why we have cameras -- so we can take their portraits. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  12. Wow, they really knew how to "cocktail" back in the day! Perfect for sipping on a foggy coastal evening. (We'll be huddled around the patio heater with our jackets too.)

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    1. Hi Deb, the first half of the 20th century was really the golden age of cocktails! So many good ones developed then. Thanks for the comment.

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  13. Replies
    1. Hi Liz, isn't it? And tasty! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  14. Toro, toro, toro! Count me in. I can still remember my dad watching bull fights on tv. This was way before cable. He used to watch those crazy wrestlers, too. I can assure you though-that he wasn't drinking this!

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    1. Hi Abbe, I've seen bull fights on TV, but that's as close as I've gotten. I guess this drink doesn't count. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  15. Wow, I love the ingredients but the name seems a bit gritty. :)

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    1. Hi Maureen, the name of this is definitely gritty! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  16. Oh my! Sounds like a drink that a volley player would make after a long game that he/she LOST!

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    1. Hi GiGi, love the volleyball reference! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  17. ot familiar with the movie nor the cocktail Blood and Sand. Will need to check them both out. I used to be a big Scotch drinker, but it's been a while. This sounds like a nice beverage to revisit it. Thanks John!

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    1. Hi MJ, this is pretty tasty. I'll bet you'll like it. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  18. Very cool drink! There are so many liqueurs that I've not heard of and this cherry one sounds interesting. Pinned.

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    1. Hi Lea Ann, Cherry Heering is fun stuff. Plus you need it to make a Singapore Sling! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  19. Your cocktail photos are so enticing -- and this one inspires me to go beyond my usual habit of sticking to classics. I might make this a new classic.

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    1. Hi Rosemary, this is really an interesting drink. Fun to make, more fun to drink. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  20. I am all over the tequila version. Love the name, the color and the wonderful story. Going to look up the movie - don't think I've ever seen that one! Happy Cinco de Mayo to you both!

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    1. Hi Tricia, Happy Cinco de Mayo! And have one of these (tequila version) to celebrate. Or two. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  21. That's a stunning creation, John. Great shots too.

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    1. Hi Angie, it's a good drink! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  22. This is one I've never heard of (though there are probably a great many I've never heard of!), but it sounds good AND it's so pretty! Ix-nay on the toreador pants for me, though!

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    1. Hi Jean, there are hundreds of drinks out there. So much work ahead of us. :D Thanks for the comment.

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  23. Awesome cocktail John, this is perfect as I started to enjoy cocktails with whisky...thanks for the recipe!
    I hope you are having a great week :)

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    1. Hi Juliana, whisky cocktails are great! As are all the others. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  24. Definitely gonna pick up some fresh orange juice so I can make this! The color is so eye-catching!

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    1. Hi Ashley, fresh OJ is good is so many different cocktails! Including this one, of course. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  25. I start a new job today, need something special to celebrate my first day with tonight. Reckon this beauty might just be it! :)

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    1. Hi Anna, congrats on the new job! One -- or two -- of these would make a nice celebration. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  26. That title certainly caught our attention. I think on the rocks sounds really nice and love its color. Mrs. Riff and you are such a hoot! Does she help you write the commentary at the end of your posts?

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    1. Hi Bobbi, Mrs KR does indeed help write those endings (she actually helps with the entire post). I do the first draft, then she edits the entire thing. We both particularly enjoy working on the endings. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  27. Replies
    1. Hi Marta, it's an interesting one, isn't it? :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  28. This is so beautiful! I love the color and I'm guessing I may see stars if I drink it. You certainly have a way with your photos.

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    1. Hi Vicki, it's a good drink. Stars or not. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  29. How funny! When I saw the title of the cocktail, I immediately thought it sounded like a movie title. And it certainly looks cinematic in the glass.

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    1. Hi Carolyn, tastes pretty cinematic, too. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  30. This looks refreshing and delicious. The color is so beautiful.

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    1. Hi Amira, we served the tequila version of this tonight -- really a good drink! Thanks for the comment.

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  31. Probably the reason there aren't many cocktails using Scotch, is that it's so perfect on its own! (But I'd gladly make an exception to try this drink.)

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    1. Hi Beth, although we enjoy the few scotch cocktails we know, drinking it all by itself is our preference, too. But it's fun to experiment! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  32. Cherry Heering liqueur sounds interesting, must be something like Kirsch from Switzerland. This must be fruity tasty

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    1. Hi Raymund, Cherry Heering is interesting stuff! It's a really good cocktail ingredient (and some people like to drink it neat). :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  33. Since I am not a Scotch drinker, I belong to the Vodka team, i would love to try this cocktail! Looks very tasty and refreshing!

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    1. Hi Katerina, try the tequila version of this since you don't like scotch -- it's really good, too. Thanks for the comment.

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  34. Blood and sand is a great name, this looks really tempting.

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    1. Hi Caroline, it IS tempting! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  35. Replies
    1. Hi Lux, good drink. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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