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)
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.


Of Orange Juice and Toddies

Just a quick post for tonight’s drinks. Having woken up this morning with a sore throat and a peeled lemon in the fridge, I decided to make myself a hot toddy after dinner. I loosely followed Dale Degroff’s recipe from The Essential Cocktail, a truly excellent book, but whereas his calls for equal parts dark rum and American whiskey I used Scotch instead. I think most dark spirits would work just fine in this though.

Hot Toddy
1 Scotch Whisky (Famous Grouse Malt)
1/2 Lemon juice
1/2 Honey
~3 Hot water

Mix honey, lemon and hot water in a mug, then add the whisky.

Very delicious on first sip, but I wanted a stronger scotch presence. I added a third of an ounce of Laphroaig, which brought a very subtle smokiness and beefed up the whisky flavour. Still a bit subtle for my liking, anywhere from a half to two thirds would’ve done better but I didn’t want to drink too much more and thought that such a fine single malt could be put to better uses. The drink was appropriately soothing on the throat, and left an unexpected but appreciated mint freshness in the mouth.

I also made a few drinks for my parents. As I was sick I did not get a proper chance to taste these, so I’ll post the recipes and say what I can.

Cameron’s Kick (stub)
1 Scotch Whisky (Famous Grouse Malt)
1 Irish Whiskey (Jameson’s)
1/2 Lemon Juice
1/2 Orgeat Syrup (I substitued Monin Amaretto syrup)

Shake, strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with orange twist.

This is what I did with the other half of the lemon. I thought the almond syrup was a bit overpowering at these proportions. Could take it down to 1/3.

Tango [no. 2?] (stub)
1/2 White Rum (Havana Club Anejo Blanco)
1/2 Sweet Vermouth (Cinzano Rosso)
1/2 Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat)
1/2 Benedictine
1/2 Orange Juice

This was very appreciable, if a bit sweet, very much a herbal Benedictine and vermouth affair. Huge finish from the Benedictine. The orange I used might’ve been slightly funky. Will definitely make this for myself soon. Unfortunately it has quite a muddy colour.

Bronx (stub)


1 Gin (Beefeater – a curious 37% ABV bottling that’s not as sharp as the 40%)
1/2 Sweet Vermouth (Cinzano Rosso)
1/2 Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat)
1 Orange Juice

Perhaps another half ounce of gin could do this good. But mum doesn’t like her drinks very strong.

Published in: on August 11, 2009 at 1:38 pm  Leave a Comment  
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