Blood & Sand variation
A poor boy grows up to be the greatest matador in Spain. He marries his sweet childhood friend but embarks on a torrid, sadomasochistic affair with a beautiful widow. Torn between duty and passion, faithful love and sexual combustion, the toreador becomes reckless and finally succumbs to a brave bull in the corrida. That’s a lot for one cocktail to convey!
The Blood & Sand, named after the eponymous 1922 Rudolph Valentino film (could it be the first promotional drink tie-in in movie marketing history?), tries to do just that. In its traditional incarnation, the leading man of our drink is played by blended Scotch whiskey, the virtuous wife by sweet vermouth, and the mistress by cherry brandy. Fresh blood-orange lends an Iberian flair.
After reading a recipe in Gourmet Magazine that first appeared in November 1947, I longed to try the drink. Alas, I couldn’t find blood oranges and my local store was out of cherry brandy. I would have to wait. Then inspiration struck…the venerable Commander’s Palace in New Orleans serves a Blood & Sand with local strawberry juice and I had local cherry in my ‘fridge. Could it be done? Could I cheat, much like our hero? Here’s how I did it (and the results tasted great):
In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine
- 1oz Green Spot Irish whiskey (you can use the Scotch of your choice instead)
- 1oz local cherry stomp
- .75oz sweet vermouth
- .75oz Lairds Applejack
- One dash of orange bitters