Blood and Sand

[Photograph: Edsel Little on Flickr]

Unlike the unwritten rule about wearing white, there's no stipulation that you must pack away your white liquor after Labor Day. But after the unofficial end of summer, it's entirely appropriate to start breaking out the brown spirits of fall and winter.

Scotch whiskey is a notoriously difficult ingredient to mix in a cocktail. Here's a drink that uses it to great effect: the Blood and Sand. The earliest printed recipe I've found for this drink was in the Savoy Cocktail Book, from 1930, and it likely takes its name from the popular 1922 silent film starring Rudolph Valentino as an ill-fated matador. With an unlikely cast of ingredients, the Blood and Sand rises above the chaos and helps set the stage for the approach of more robust-flavored drinks for the cooler months.

About the author: Paul Clarke blogs about cocktails at The Cocktail Chronicles and writes regularly on spirits and cocktails for Imbibe magazine. He lives in Seattle, where he works as a writer and magazine editor.

Adapted from Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails by Ted Haigh.

Blood and Sand

About This Recipe

Yield:makes 1 cocktail
Active time:3 minutes
Total time:3 minutes
Special equipment:Cocktail shaker and strainer
This recipe appears in: Cocktails and Spirits with Paul Clarke: Cocktail History, Revisited Put Down the Scotch and Step Away from the Shaker


  • 1 ounce blended Scotch (Famous Grouse is a good brand to use)
  • 1 ounce fresh-squeezed orange juice
  • 3/4 ounce sweet vermouth
  • 3/4 ounce Cherry Heering (no, not "herring," and yes, the brand matters)


  1. 1

    Pour all of ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Fill shaker with ice, and shake well for 10 seconds; strain into a chilled cocktail glass, and garnish with a cherry.


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