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Tag Archives: torn between two lovers

Day 107, Cocktails 106 & 107

“Torn between two lovers, feelin’ like a fool
Lovin’ both of you is breakin’ all the rules”

Ok, so mabye Mary Macgregor’s semi-hit single is a hackneyed way to start today’s post, but trust me, it fits…somehow.  Today’s subject is a classic cocktail, the Blood and Sand.  Named for the movie Blood and Sand, originally produced in 1922 and starring Rudolph Valentino, the cocktail, like the movie has three or four versions floating around out there.  In fact, many other sources credit the 1941 version starring Tyrone Power as the inspiration for the cocktail, even though there appears to be credible evidence that the drink was around before 1941.  So just how does Mary Macgregor’s song fit in?  Well the movie is about a young man of humble beginnings who ventures off to find fame and fortune as a bull fighter, taking his young love with him.  Of course, along the way, he also falls in love with the daughter of a wealthy and powerful man.  What to do?  Remain true to his first love?  Or leave her for the glamour and wealth of the sophisticated beauty?  I’ll leave you to learn that on your own.

As for the cocktail, like the movie, we have a strong leading man in the scotch that is the base of this cocktail.  The two lovers that tear at his heart are represented by sweet vermouth and cherry brandy.  All are in the drink in equal amounts, making for the perfect love triangle.

  Blood and Sand (classic)

  • 3/4 oz scotch
  • 3/4 oz cherry brandy
  • 3/4 oz sweet vermouth
  • 3/4 oz orange juice

Combine all the ingredients in a shaker and shake, shake, shake.  Strain into a chilled coupe and garnish with a flamed orange peel.

So just how does the scotch hold up against the vermouth and cherry brandy and orange juice?  Very well, thank you.  This definately goes into the category of cocktails I would never have imangined drinking a year ago, yet it works very well.  I made mine with kirschwasser and it worked well, even though I’m not a kirschwasser fan.  The sweetness of the vermouth and orange do the trick to mellow out the kirschwasser and let the smoky scotch flavor still come through.  Even though the scotch is torn between two lovers it is still firmly in charge of this drink.

As a side note, my first attempt at this was awful.  As I sipped trying to like it I started to think through why I wasn’t enjoying it.  Finally, it dawned on me.  I went back down to the Twilight Lounge and confirmed my suspicion.  I had made my first attempt with dry vermouth rather than sweet.  Ugh!  No wonder I didn’t like it!

After the having the original, I’ve spent the last several days toying with my variant on this theme.  It was natural to use Cherry Heering, although my later research uncovered multiple versions that used Heering as the cherry brandy.  This does not work for me.  The Cherry Heering and sweet vermouth are just too sweet and overpower the scotch when used in the traditional equal parts scotch, brandy, vermouth and orange juice proportions.  As I noodled around with this, I came to realize that Cherry Heering would substitute for both the sweet vermouth and cherry brandy.  Thus, the triangular perfection of the Blood and Sand story is lost.  But its still a damn good cocktail, so here it is.

  Bloody Sand Trap

  • 1-1/2 oz scotch
  • 1/4 oz Cheery Heering
  • 1 oz orange juice
  • 1 dash Peychaud’s bitters

Combine all the ingredients in a shaker and shake, shake, shake.  Strain into a chilled coupe and garnish with a flamed orange peel.

This drink actually comes very close to the original Blood and Sand without the harshness of the kirschwasser.  The scotch and Heering play well together and the orange juice is a nice compliment.  It all came down to getting the proportions correct and the dash of Peychauds helps tie it together.

If you want to enjoy the movie with this one, I suggest the 1990 version of the film starring Sharon Stone.