Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Blood and Sand

Cocktail naming conventions are funny. I read somewhere that you can tell the difference between a European cocktail and an American one by how their named. Example: In Europe, what's the name for a mix of gin and tonic? Gin and Tonic. In America, what's the name for mix of rye, creme de noyeau, and lemon juice? A Maryland Squirrel. You get the picture.

Drinks can be named for all kinds of things - historic events, famous (or not so famous) individuals, great works of fiction, etc. The Blood and Sand was named after a 1922 film about a bullfighter (Rudolph Valentino) involved in a love triangle - get it, blood of the bull, sand of the bullfighting ring? Whatever - given that origin, not sure why scotch would be the base spirit, and given that it is, you might think this is going to end up being a pretty sketchy cocktail taste-wise. Happily, you would be incorrect.

The recipe for this was originally (via the Savoy book) equal parts (3/4 oz) of all of the ingredients. The version I used bumps up the scotch to a full ounce while keeping the other at 3/4, and that works very, very well. Using a blended scotch (in my case, Johnny Walker Black) also works well - a highly peated single malt would throw off the balance of the other ingredients, for instance. Overall, a great, sweet yet refreshing cocktail. Doesn't make me feel any more like Rudy Valentino, but it also doesn't make me feel like sticking a bull with a sword as part of some arcane bloodsport, so all things considered, I'm fine with that.

Blood and Sand

1 oz blended scotch
3/4 oz orange juice
3/4 oz rosso vermouth
3/4 oz Cherry Heering

Combine ingedients in cocktail shaker and shake with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.

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