Skip to main content

How to Make a Blood and Sand Cocktail

How to Make a Blood and Sand Cocktail
Dan Baker/The Manual

The Blood and Sand cocktail dates back to the 1930s and is named after a movie of the same name starring Rudolph Valentino. In the movie, Valentino plays a bullfighter who falls in love with someone he shouldn’t. This affects his abilities in the bullfighting ring which, somewhat predictably, leads to his downfall.

There have been many iterations of this drink over the years, and we tried to stick closest to the original. While the Blood and Sand is traditionally a Scotch whisky drink, we decided to use American single malt whiskey instead, as we felt that the characteristics would fit perfectly in the cocktail. Instead of regular orange juice, though, we doubled down on the name and used blood orange juice, which creates a drink that is slightly sweeter than the original (if you can’t find it, regular orange juice works just fine). The mix of smokiness from the whiskey and sweetness from the brandy, vermouth, and blood orange juice offer up not only a visually appealing drink but one that is surprisingly refreshing considering the ingredients. It won’t make you want to get in the ring and become a matador, but it may inspire you to watch the cocktail’s namesake.

How to Make a Blood and Sand Flame
Dan Baker/The Manual

Below, check out our video showing how to make a rye smash cocktail shot by The Manual’s own Riley Young with Eddie Riddell at Trifecta Tavern in Portland, Oregon. Trifecta Tavern is open nightly and serves up an exquisitely curated cocktail program (thanks to Riddell) and a variety of seasonal dishes from executive chef Chris DiMinno.

How to Make a Blood and Sand Cocktail

Glass: Rocks
Tools: Shaker, lighter

  • .75 oz American single malt whiskey
  • .75 oz sweet red vermouth
  • .75 oz cherry brandy
  • .75 oz blood orange juice
  • Orange peel, for garnish

Method: Add all ingredients to a shaker with ice. Shake well. Strain into a rocks glass. Take orange peel and flame it over the glass before dropping it in.

This recipe features Balcones Texas Single Malt Whisky, the winner of the Single Malt Whiskey category in The Manual Spirit Awards 2019. If you’re looking to find other cocktail videos, we recommend checking out how to make a Bee’s Knees, a whiskey sour, a mojito, or a whiskey smash.

Further Reading

Sam Slaughter
Sam Slaughter was the Food and Drink Editor for The Manual. Born and raised in New Jersey, he’s called the South home for…
How to make an Old Fashioned cocktail the right way
When you're mixing up an Old Fashioned, you don't want to do it wrong
An Old Fashioned cocktail on a counter

For many bartenders and drinkers alike, the Old Fashioned holds a special place in their collective hearts. If we were ever reduced to a single cocktail on the menu — heaven forbid — we'd still do just fine if this classic whiskey drink was it. Frankly, it's a tried-and-true cocktail worthy of its legacy and colossal popularity.

Brooks Reitz is the founder of Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. He also runs Leon's Oyster Shop and Little Jack's Tavern, among others. With a classic drink like this, it can be easy to overlook the subtleties. "I think the biggest miss with most Old Fashioned recipes is not using enough bitters," Reitz said. "They are really the tie that binds the whole thing, and you really want that spice on the backend to bring everything home."

Read more
How to make a mojito: The ultimate cocktail recipe
Let us show you how to make the perfect version of this well-known cocktail
A mojito cocktail sitting on the bar

The mojito is a staple summer drink around the world thanks in part to its simplicity (also thanks in part to just how damn tasty it is when made properly). Rum, lime, mint, soda, and sugar is how to make a mojito. You’ve got some tropical power in the rum, a burst of crisp freshness in the mint, a zesty pick-me-up from the lime and the bubbles, and just enough extra sweetness thanks to the sugar — all of which, when put together, make a pretty perfect drink that can be enjoyed at just about any time of the day (especially in tropical climates). What we're saying is we're not going to stop you if you decide to make a breakfast mojito while you're on vacation.

Created in Havana, Cuba, the mojito has gone through waves of popularity in the decades since it first made its appearance (the year is debated, but written sources show its existence as early as the late 1920s). The drink saw a resurgence in popularity in the early 2000s thanks to a certain super spy, Bond, James Bond. Even though Bond is known for his Vespers and martinis, he does drink this potent potable in Die Another Day while on a beach in Cuba.

Read more
How to make The Last Word cocktail, a gin classic from another era
Impress your guests and make this circa 1916 drink
Last Word cocktail

Gin often plays a prominent role within classic cocktail culture. Such is the case with The Last Word cocktail, a delightful green concoction enlivened by the aromatic clear spirit. It's a cocktail that has practically lived two lives: one as it was born during the heyday of early 20th-century American bar life and another that started about two decades ago.

How did it come about? Drinks folklore says The Last Word was devised by Frank Fogarty at the Detroit Athletic Club circa 1916. Oddly enough, Fogarty was not a bartender but an award-winning vaudeville comedian. Regardless of his progression, he came up with a damn good cocktail that uses some rather obscure ingredients.

Read more