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.

Taking Two to Tangelo

Had these two a few days ago.

Tip Top

Tip Top

2 Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat)
1/8 Benedictine
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

This cocktail was recently featured on Robert Hess’s video blog The Cocktail Spirit. Feeling like a light aperitif, I decided to mix one of these up. Lacking a spirit base, I found the Tip Top to be weak in flavour and texture, though this was not much of a surprise, and it consequentially went down rather easily. The flavour was herbal, and slightly funky. Perhaps a stronger dash of bitters and a bit more Benedictine would’ve done the drink good (as I quite love Benedictine). Overall, I wasn’t particularly impressed, and am unlikely to revisit. For my money, I’d rather the Noilly in a Martini, or fridge chilled or on the rocks.

Tart Gin Cooler

Tart Gin Cooler

2 Gin (Beefeater)
2 Fresh grapefruit juice (Ruby)
2 Tonic Water (Schweppes)
3-6 dashes Peychaud’s bitters, to taste

Build over cracked ice in a tall glass. Stir.

This drink was invented by Gary and Mardee Haidin Regan for a Food & Wine article. What struck me most about this was how well the Peychaud’s complement the grapefruit juice. As cocktailnerd pointed out, you’ll definitely want the bitters “to taste”, as a major flavour component – it’s all about that interplay. Don’t forget to stir like I did or it’ll be too ginny for a while. I’d still say that an arbitrary 3 times out of 5 I would go for a fresh juice Paloma as my preferred grapefruity summer beverage, but this is certainly a great drink and another showcase of the excellent mixing potential of grapefruit juice.

Tonight I made myself a Manhattan (Rye, 3:1). No detailed post on this yet, but suffice to say it reminded me why it was one of my favourite cocktails ever.

Also, my mother asked me to make her something using the tangelos we had in the fridge. I’ve not had much experience or success thus far with improvising drinks; I’ve rarely felt the need to try, given the many great recipe sources at my disposal. But here goes.

Ad-lib Tangelo Cooler

Tangelo Cooler

Muddle half a tangelo and a few leftover slices of grapefruit, all peeled
Add 1 1/2 White Rum (Havana Club)
Taste. Hmm…. gee, I might’ve put too much rum in for her liking.
Add 1tsp sugar and mime shake to dissolve.
Taste. Add a dash each of The Bitter Truth Orange Bitters and Angostura Bitters, another quarter of tangelo and muddle more.
Taste. Not fantastic, but the flavours are more balanced and blended. Let’s see how it turns out.
Shake with ice. Strain into a stemless goblet/tumbler/not quite old fashioned glass full of crushed ice.
Taste. It’s pretty dull. Needs perhaps some sour, but I don’t feel like using a lemon. Oh, tonic water in the fridge!
Top up with tonic water.
Taste. Yes, that’s quite good.
Garnish with a tangelo quarter.

It turned out pretty well thankfully. Probably should have used just tangelos instead of grapefruit as well, for a cleaner flavour.
For dad, who asked for something simple with gin:

Old Fashioned Gin Cocktail (stub)

Old Fashioned Gin Cocktail

2 Gin (Beefeater)
1tsp white sugar
2 dashes Angostura Bitters

Dissolve sugar with very little water in an old-fashioned glass. Add bitters, gin, and ice. Stir to chill, serve.

Better be into your juniper for this one. Obviously, if you really like gin with not much else going on, you’ll probably dig this drink. It’s kind of a sweetened Pink Gin on the rocks. The taste of the gin seem to be expressed fairly emphatically here, when compared to, say, a Martini, though I do like those relatively heavy in vermouth. It’s also a bit of a strange sensation to be drinking such sweet gin. It was enjoyable, but if I had a full one I could see myself getting sick of the heavy gin flavour, and probably be left wondering why I didn’t just have a whiskey Old Fashioned in the first place. If I got my hands on some old Holland gin though, I shall definitely be revisiting the gin Cocktail, most likely in Improved form.

Published in: on August 15, 2009 at 12:45 pm  Leave a Comment