Blood and Sand Cocktail

If you are new to Scotch, the Blood and Sand is an approachable cocktail. This classic cocktail recipe contains only three ingredients, which means it is also a drink that is easy to make.

The Blood and Sand mixes cherry brandy and orange juice with Scotch. The combination is both fruity and complex. The Scotch brings rich peat and smoke notes to the sweet fruit of the brandy and orange juice.

The drink is named for a Rudolph Valentino silent film about bullfighting.

The Scotch

There are many styles of Scotch. From the more approachable blended Highland scotches to the intensely flavored Islay scotches. This recipe can be adapted to any of them. Follow your tastes.

This cocktail works becomes very interesting with an Islay Scotch. The heavy smoke and peat typical of Islay Scotch balances the sweeter components of the cocktail well.

The Cherry Brandy

The original Blood and Sand cocktail recipe calls for Cherry Herring. If you’re not familiar with it, Cherry Heering is a cherry brandy from Denmark. If you can’t find it other cherry brandies will work fine. Grand Marnier makes a nice one. There are plenty of other options as well.

The Orange Juice

Make it fresh squeezed if you can. You should also shake this drink because it includes citrus. You probably want to fine strain it as well. For some variation try fresh blood orange juice.

The Glass

The Blood and Sand cocktail is typically served in a rocks glass with a large chunk of ice. Keep it simple and garnish with a strip of orange zest.

The Method

Because this drink contains orange juice you will shake it. You probably want to fine strain it. Straining out the pulp from the orange juice helps clean up the drink and make it present nicely.

Blood and Sand

This classic drink makes for an approachable introduction to Scotch. The smoke and peat of the Scotch add a nice complexity to the fruity flavors of the orange juice and cherry liqueur. The name comes from the title of a 1922 silent film where Rudolph Valentino plays a matador.


  • Glass: chilled martini or coupe
  • 1 oz. blended Scotch
  • 1 oz. sweet vermouth
  • 1 oz. cherry brandy
  • 1 oz. fresh orange juice
  • Garnish: orange wheel


  1. In a cocktail shaker combine Scotch, vermouth, cherry brandy and orange juice.
  2. Fill the shaker with ice and shake vigorously.
  3. Fine strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with the orange peel.

Recipe Notes

The Blood and Sand works really well with a smoky, peaty Islay Scotch like Laphroig. A great vermouth like Carpano antica is a nice addition if you have it. The traditional cherry liqueur is Cherry Heering.