Blood and Sand #0
Intense | Herbal | Classic

Blood and Sand recipe

Blood and Sand cocktail

What is a Blood and Sand cocktail?

History and background

The legendary whisky cocktail Blood and Sand was first written about in Harry Craddock's famous The Savoy Cocktail Book in 1930. It's safe to assume that the cocktail was also invented in The American Bar of the Savoy Hotel in London, a bar where many other iconic cocktails were invented. But we can't know for sure. The name may come from an American film of the same name. It was an atmospheric, successful silent film about the life of a bull fighter and starred Rudolph Valentino, also known as the Latin Lover.

Flavour Blood and Sand cocktail

The Blood and Sand cocktail is one of those love it or hate it cocktails. But there are plenty of people who absolutely adore the Blood and Sand cocktail. Putting personal taste aside, you have to appreciate the brilliant flavour combination in this sweet whisky cocktail. What's fascinating about this cocktail recipe is that, on paper, you wouldn't expect these ingredients to work. The Scotch Blended Whisky with a generous dash of smoky or Islay Single Malt whisky is absolutely essential to the success of this cocktail. These whiskies are powerful enough to hold their own against the other flavours in the sweet, red vermouth and the sweet Bols Cherry Brandy. By using freshly squeezed orange juice, you add just enough fresh, sour notes.

Ingredients for Blood and Sand

How to make a Blood and Sand cocktail?

Pour all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker. Fill the shaker two thirds of the way with ice cubes and shake the cocktail for around 10 seconds. Fine strain it into a chilled cocktail coupe. Garnish the cocktail with orange zest.

What bar tools do you need to make a Blood and Sand cocktail?

  • Cocktail shaker 
  • Jigger
  • Strainer
  • Fine strainer

Blood and Sand cocktail garnish
Orange zest


Blood and Sand cocktail recipe variations
Variation 1: Base spirit 

The base spirit in the Blood and Sand is Scotch whisky. This gives the cocktail a deep flavour of vanilla wood and a small touch of smokiness. The Blood and Sand needs a strong base spirit that can stand out against the other powerful ingredients. If you want to change the base spirit, use an aged spirit. If you want to remove some of the smokiness, Bols Barrel Aged Genever is a base spirit that goes nicely with the cherries and orange notes in this cocktail. Using Bols Barrel Aged Genever gives the Blood and Sand a slightly more herbal base, which pairs nicely with the existing flavours in the cocktail.

Variation 2: Modifier

Sweet vermouth is a good jumping-off point in any cocktail. And the Blood and Sand is no exception. Let's honour this modifier by finding it a worthy partner. Whiskey and sweet vermouth have a few flavours in common. Vanilla, caramel and cinnamon are three examples. These three flavours can also be found in Velvet Falernum. This slightly alcoholic spirit from Barbados is the perfect replacement for the the Crème de Cassis in a Blood and Sand. You can give the cocktail a tropical touch with this excellent companion to the vermouth and whisky.

Variation 3: Orange

The Blood and Sand is a love it or hate it cocktail. Some bartenders and guests swear by a Blood and Sand and are often very particular about how it is prepared. Blood and Sand fans believe there is just one way to make this cocktail. And that's by muddling four orange segments in the shaker and shaking them rather than using orange juice. The bitter oils in the orange peel give the cocktail the maturity they're after.

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