Blood and Sand, and Tango #2

I got my Cherry Heering months ago and had wanted to try the Blood and Sand for months before that. Well, I figured, now was the time. The Blood and Sand was named after the 1921 film, and dates back to at least 1930 (the Savoy book). It is one of the few Scotch drinks that have endured the test of time with relative popularity. There seem to be two prevailing ratios for this drink; with equal parts, or as Ted Haigh and others have recommended:

Blood and Sand

Blood and Sand 1

1 Blended Scotch (Famous Grouse Malt)
1 Orange Juice (fresh-squeezed Navel orange)
3/4 Cherry Brandy (Peter Heering Cherry Heering)
3/4 Sweet Vermouth (Cinzano Rosso)

Shake all ingredients with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a cocktail cherry. Or if you’re me and feeling fancy and admire Jamie Boudreau’s blog… (it required TWO cocktail picks!)

Perplexing. Definitely a sweet drink- not sweet enough to turn me off it, but a sort of compelling sweetness that leaves your mouth asking for more, like those gummy snakes you chain-nibbled when you were a kid. All ingredients make themselves known, but meld together in a appreciable, if somewhat uneasy, companionship. Not surprising for such odd bedfellows. Part of me wants a more assertive scotch presence, either by using a different whisky or upping the measurement, but the slightly more discordant notes I detect caution against this. Actually, it’s fine as is. As the drink warms and my palate adjusts, dissonance turns to rich harmony, and I’m beginning to really like it. Perhaps the best way to take advantage of this phenomenon is to have another…

For full disclosure, I will admit I added a drop of The Bitter Truth orange bitters in the middle of drinking it as I wanted a slightly deeper bitter taste and a better link between the flavours. This may or may not have influenced my final enjoyment of the drink- clearly, more experimentation is needed!

Blood and Sand 2

I figured I had some orange juice left to use and hadn’t yet treated myself to a Tango 2 (from the Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book). From what I can gather on Jay’s site, there were no instructions to garnish, but I went ahead with an orange peel because it was just lying there (he used lemon). Also notable is the recommendation to stir, not shake, even though the drink contains a cloudy ingredient (orange juice), presumably for the less airy texture and lack of froth.

Tango #2

Tango 2

Equal parts:
White Rum (Havana Club Anejo Blanco)
Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat)
Sweet Vermouth (Cinzano Rosso)
Benedictine
Orange Juice (fresh squeezed Navel)

Stir all ingredients with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Another sweet drink. An upfront fruity freshness created by the vermouths and orange juice segues to a deep herbal finish with lingering honey. A really good drink, and potentially a very accessible tipple to introduce neophytes to a more aromatic style of drink. I always found Benedictine to have a beautiful flavour but is far too intensely herbal on its own- drinks like this are a great way to explore its nuances, and I verily appreciate them.

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