Turns out, the Blood and Sand cocktail is one of the more contentious cocktails in a bartender’s back pocket. If made correctly, however, it tastes similar to an elevated mimosa. The fresh blood orange juice, sweet Vermouth and cherry liqueur create a balanced and uniquely-refreshing cocktail with hints of cherry and tart citrus.
The Blood and Sand cocktail was created to promote its namesake, Rudolph Valentino’s 1922 film about a great matador. Originally, the red Cherry Heering was meant to represent the “blood” and orange juice, the “sand.” I’d like to think substituting blood-orange for original recipe’s plain orange juice only adds to the dramatic symbolism.
So, why do so many bartenders avoid this historic cocktail?
Most people point to the equal-proportioned yet overpowering orange juice as being a major downfall. Some say that it all comes down to bartending technique or whether the concoction was shaken to the point of no return.
I’ve made this cocktail with both regular orange juice juice and various cherry liqueurs, but the breakthrough came when I was finally was able to prepare it during blood orange season. Now, blood orange juice won’t necessarily make or break the recipe, but it does change the overall flavor for the better.
Word of advice: Stick with Herring Cherry Liqueur over any substitute. On its own, the cherry liqueur tastes thick and medicinal, somewhat like Robitussin. In this cocktail, however, it is absolutely outstanding. I thought this would be the only cocktail I’d use this particular liqueur with, but after experimenting with it I believe there are various cocktails that it would pair well with.
After testing my own Blood and Sand variations and ordering the cocktail at a variety of high-end craft bars, I’ve come up with this well-balanced recipe. Enjoy!
Table of Contents
Blood and Sand Cocktail
- Cocktail Shaker
- Martini glass
- 1/4 oz Blended Scotch
- 1/4 oz Blood Orange juice Freshly squeezed. Regular orange juice is an okay substitute.
- 1/4 oz Cocchi Sweet Vermouth
- 1/4 oz Heering Cherry liqueur
- 1 Blood orange Peel or slice for garnish
- 1 Cherry Luxardo or aged
- Combine scotch, blood orange juice, vermouth, and cherry liqueur in a shaker filled with ice.
- Shake vigorously for about 15 seconds.
- Strain into a martini glass and garnish with blood orange peel and cherry. Serve.