Blood & Sand cocktail

Blood & Sand

By Timo Torner / Last updated on September 18, 2022 

First published on January 22, 2022 

In theory, the Blood & Sand cocktail is a respected classic cocktail. But looking at reality, the drink became one of the more polarizing cocktail classics.

Asking bartenders about their opinion on the Blood & Sand will lead to very different responses. 

For some, the drink shouldn't be on any bar menu. Others like to tweak the recipe and make it more modern. And a third group defends the original formula and found ways to perfect the classic recipe.

The biggest criticisms concerning the Blood & Sand cocktail are the measurements and the use of orange juice. But luckily, there is a solution for that. 

No matter if you prefer to accentuate certain ingredients, remove the orange juice, or want to perfect the classic approach, there's a recipe for everyone.

Ingredients of the Blood & Sand Cocktail

To make a classic Blood and Sand, you need Single Malt Scotch Whisky, Sweet Vermouth, orange juice, and cherry liqueur.

Blood and Sand Cocktail

In the original recipe, these four ingredients are combined in equal measurements. However, and here the trouble lies, many find this version too sweet.

So, if you also like your drinks a little less sweet, you can adjust the measurements. I'll get back to this in a moment, but first, let's see how the original came about.

History of the Blood & Sand

The Blood & Sand cocktail was invented in London and named after a movie with the same name released in 1922. 

The recipe was printed for the first time in Harry Craddocks The Savoy Cocktail Book. Here, he asks for equal amounts of Scotch, Sweet Vermouth, Heering cherry liqueur, and orange juice. 

Blood and Sand Recipe Savoy Cocktail Book

This traditional recipe makes a rather sweet cocktail with a smokey touch from the Scotch. That characteristic led to the drink being called the best Scotch-based cocktail for non-Scotch haters. 

Today, there are many different options for Scotch Whisky. You can get ones with almost no smoke and some total smoke bombs. 

Therefore, just by your choice of Scotch, you can already balance the drink better.

But modern Blood & Sand variations don't stop there. By adjusting measurements, reducing orange juice, omitting orange juice, or simply improving the shaking process, you can bring your Blood & Sand to the next level.

Adjusting measurements

To fix the equal measurements issue, many modern approaches create a more Scotch and Vermouth forward version, so they dominate cherry liqueur and orange juice. 

Blood and Sand adjusted measurements

While the traditional recipe asks for 0.75oz of each ingredient, a more Scotch-forward recipe uses 1 oz of Scotch and orange juice and 0.75 of Sweet Vermouth and cherry liqueur.

Orange juice in a Blood & Sand

The orange juice in the cocktail is the biggest issue among critics. Much like with a classic Screwdriver cocktail, the orange juice can dominate the drink and completely ruin its complexity. 

Others complain about the consistency, sweetness, or acidity. But how to fix it? 

Above all, if you intend to use orange juice in your cocktail, only use freshly squeezed ones. But you can also replace it with similar citrus juices from blood oranges or grapefruits. 

Blood And Sand equal measures

However, the most sophisticated way is to omit the juice completely. Instead, use orange liqueur or blends of orange liqueur. 

Also, by stirring the cocktail instead of shaking it, you can create a rather boozy, more balanced take on the classic Blood & Sand.

Tips for lovers of the classic recipe

If you're a fan of the traditional recipe and want to make the most out of it, here are some ways to improve your cocktail: 

The key to a great Blood & Sand is the right combination of Scotch and orange juice. 

Start with a not too smoky Scotch and freshly squeezed orange juice. A Speyside single malt works a treat in this classic. 

Heering Cherry liqueur and a quality Sweet Vermouth like the one from Dolin complete the list of ingredients.

Another tip to improve your Blood & Sand is to shake it longer and more intensely. 

By putting more muscles in your Blood & Sand, you'll increase the frothiness of the cocktail and will yield better results. -If you don't start sweating while shaking your cocktail, you're not doing it right.

Blood & Sand cocktail

Blood & Sand

A classic Scotch-based cocktail balanced by Sweet Vermouth, orange juice, and cherry liqueur.
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: British
Keyword: scotch
Servings: 1
Calories: 163kcal
Cost: $2.30

Ingredients

  • 0.75 oz Speyside single malt
  • 0.75 oz Dolin Sweet Vermouth
  • 0.75 oz Fresh Orange juice
  • 0.75 oz Heering Cherry liqueur
  • 1 orange peel

Instructions

  • Add all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice and shake vigorously for around 25 - 30 seconds.
    0.75 oz Speyside single malt, 0.75 oz Dolin Sweet Vermouth, 0.75 oz Fresh Orange juice, 0.75 oz Heering Cherry liqueur
  • Double-strain into a chilled coupe glass and garnish with an orange peel.
    1 orange peel

Nutrition

Serving: 3.25oz | Calories: 163kcal | Carbohydrates: 13.3g | Protein: 0.23g | Fat: 0.05g | Sodium: 0.5mg | Potassium: 44.5mg | Sugar: 13.3g | Vitamin C: 13.5mg | Calcium: 11.5mg | Iron: 0.1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
What does a Blood and Sand taste like?

A well-made Blood & Sand cocktail tastes slightly smoky with sweet and fruity notes from fresh orange juice, Sweet Vermouth, and cherry liqueur.

Who invented Blood and Sand?

The Blood & Sand was invented in London and first published in written form by Harry Craddock in his famous cocktail bible "The Savoy Cocktail Book."

Which Scotch for a Blood & Sand?

It's best to use a not too smoky Scotch Whisky. For instance, you can take a Speyside single malt.

How much Scotch in a Blood & Sand?

In a classic Blood & Sand, all ingredients are measured evenly at 0.75oz. In a more Scotch-forward version, use 1 oz Scotch, 1 oz orange juice, 0,75 oz Sweet Vermouth, and 0.75 oz cherry Heering.

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