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.
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.
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.
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