Blood and Sand

Blood and Sand

Blood and Sand-12

This is a familiar cocktail to us, especially to D. Along with the Rusty Nail it is one of only a handful of well known scotch cocktails, and certainly among the first suggested by bartenders when D requests a scotch-based bevvy. Until recently this drink was impossible to make in this province (correctly at least), but we revel in the recent arrival of Cherry Heering on our liquor store shelves. Blood and SandCherry Heering is a syrupy liqueur with a deep burgundy hue and a finish reminiscent of sherry.

We once had this cocktail mixed erroneously with maraschino, an interesting substitution that I liked – largely because it was a much more pleasing color than the original, but D was not a fan. In retrospect the maraschino overpowered the scotch, whereas the Heering rounds out the base spirit, highlighting the spicy notes while muting any harshness.

Ted Haigh notes that the Blood and Sand is named after a film of the same title, though it’s easy to imagine that the moniker is a result of its murky rusty hue. But while the color may leave something to be desired this libation is a classic for a reason. It is a workshop in balance: sweet but boozy, citrusy but not overly so, smooth and quaffable even for the scotch novice. I prompted D for some tasting notes. “I like it!” says D. “Why?” says me. “It has scotch in it. I like scotch.” “And…?” I pressed. “There aren’t a lot of scotch cocktails.” Well there you have it. Give this a shot if only because it is one of a handful of mixed drinks with scotch as a base. Make it again because it is delicious.

Blood and Sand

  • 1 ounce scotch (a blend such as Johnny Walker Red works well)
  • 1 ounce fresh orange juice
  • .75 ounce Cherry Heering
  • .75 ounce sweet vermouth

Shake over ice. Strain. Garnish with a cherry.

Blood and Sand Ingredients

Blood and Sand Ingredients

Arnaud’s Special Cocktail

Arnaud’s Special Cocktail

Arnaud Special Cocktail

Arnaud Special Cocktail

Owing to the fact that we had to skip over the Amarosa Cocktail I was a little daunted at the prospect of another in-your-face whiskey drink. This gin girl can handle her bourbon, but I’m out of my league when it comes to scotch. Luckily D lives for a good scotch cocktail and was completely in his element.

As we had a couple of brands of scotch and a couple different bitters on hand we decided to test several variations of this drink. We made D’s with Johnny Walker Red,

Johnny Walker Red

Johnny Walker Red

as suggested by Dr. Cocktail, and Fee’s Orange Bitters. I concocted my libation with Glenfiddich and Angostura Orange Bitters. Both cocktails exhibited notes of orange, bing cherry, coffee, moss, and band-aid, but Doug’s was more peaty, notably so, while mine was sharper from the bolder Angostura bitters.

We were both surprised at the refreshing quality of this beverage. I had expected to be breathing out whisky vapours, but the Dubonnet quelled the scotch.

Dubonnet Rouge

Dubonnet Rouge

For his part D was looking for more intensity from the scotch. While not dissatisfied with the drink he nevertheless declared Arnaud’s Special Cocktail to be “an afternoon drink” and likened the concoction to a “scotch sangria.”

In an attempt to amp up the scotch flavour D devised a third version using 1½ ounces Johnny Walker Red, ½ ounce Laphroig, 1 ounce Dubonnet Rouge and 3 dashes of Fee’s Orange Bitters. The result was a peat bomb.

The Laphroaig completely overpowered the delicate flavours offered by the aperitif and the bitters.

Laphroaig

Laphroaig

Our consensus: use a blended or lowland scotch for subtlety and balance.

Arnaud’s Special Cocktail

  • 2 ounces scotch (such as Johnny Walker Red)
  • 1 ounce Dubonnet Rouge
  • 3 dashes orange bitters (we like Angostura Orange)

Shake over ice. Strain. Garnish with an orange twist.

 

Arnaud Special Cocktail ingredients

Arnaud Special Cocktail ingredients