The Frozen Blood and Sand Cocktail… is better than a regular Blood and Sand Cocktail

Frozen Blood and Sand Cocktail // stirandstrain.comLike many ideas we take for granted, I was wrong on this one. For the longest time I was under the impression that the Blood and Sand cocktail was, in fact, a tiki cocktail. My assumption was based on the fact that local tiki bar, Tiki Ti, served this bevy up on their regular menu. A drink that elicits shouts of Toro! Toro! Toro! by patrons when ordered had to be born of tiki blood.. right? Wrong.

The Blood and Sand cocktail is actually pre-tiki, although the idea of putting “sand” into your name almost always guarantees it’s of the tropical variety. And all that toreador fanfare at the bar smacks of Tiki’s theatrics. But this drink goes a bit further back in time than the Tiki era, as it takes its name from Valentino’s 1922 bullfighting movie and appears in the 1930 Savoy Cocktail Book (and not an original name by myself, which for some reason, people were really confused about when I originally offered this recipe up on Serious Eats). And really, what about the Scotch? Scotch seems like such an un-tiki spirit. But every liquor nowadays can star in a tropical libation.Frozen Blood and Sand Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

And for me, whipping it up into a frozen version makes it even more so.

Which brings me to today’s drink. Let’s all be honest here; the Blood and Sand cocktail is not really good. All that orange juice, ugh. Orange juice as a mixer is like adding a lot of bland, marginally flavored water to your drink. And you usually need A LOT of it to even taste the essence of the orange. So what you usually get when you order a Blood and Sand cocktail is something very unbalanced.

This drink tries to mix that up, adding more flavor and using the original blood orange juice in place of just plain old OJ. And on top of that, a bit of Grand Mariner for extra orange sweetness. There’s some super peaty scotch in here, but if that’s not your bag, sure, I guess go for something a bit more subdued. Keep in mind though that this is a very cold drink, and you need that extra flavor to punch it up. I’ve also batched this for 4 because if you’re having frozen cocktails, you’re having a party. Even if that party is for one.Frozen Blood and Sand Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

Makes 4 drinks

6 ounces peated Scotch whisky, such as The Peat Monster
4 ounces fresh blood orange juice from about 4 blood oranges
3 ounces sweet vermouth, such as Carpano Antica
2 ounces Luxardo cherry syrup
1 ounce Grand Marnier
4 dashes Angostura bitters
4 blood orange slices and 4 Luxardo cherries, for garnish

  1. Pour Scotch, blood orange juice, sweet vermouth, cherry syrup, Grand Marnier, and Angostura bitters into a resealable freezer-safe container. Seal and freeze for at least 8 and up to 24 hours.
  2. When ready to serve, pour Scotch mixture into a blender with 4 cups ice. Blend until smooth. Divide between four coupe glasses and garnish each glass with an orange slice and Luxardo cherry.

Sweet Saddle Cocktail

Sweet Saddle Cocktail // stirandstrain.comLately, there’s a tendency to pull the same books down off the shelves. I can see a variety of covers staring back but autopilot takes over and I just reach out for the familiar cover. However today I changed course and took the Bitters (A Spirited History of a Classic Cure-All, with Cocktails, Recipes, and Formulas) book down off the shelf, forgetting that, hey- there’s recipes in there for drinks too! One stuck out for its simplicity, the Black Scottish Cyclops. I was looking for simplicity. And that recipe inspired just that…

Two liquors, two bitters. A complete surprise. That’s what this drink is.

Here you need to use a very peaty scotch (read: super smoky/toasty). I had picked up a bottle of Peat Monster because it promised super peaty flavor, and delivered, and also I loved their label design (I can be a sucker for that, don’t judge). A lighter blend of Scotch isn’t going to cut it, unless it’s two crazy peated scotches and I’d love to hear about it ASAP! Otherwise the cocktail will be flat and too mellow and why waste the liquor.peatmonsterbox

2 oz. Peat Monster Blended Malt Scotch Whisky
1 oz. Cocchi Vermouth di Torino
2 Dashes of Angostura Bitters
2 Dashes of Fee Brothers Walnut Bitters (if your local shop doesn’t carry them, ask them nicely to or get them on Amazon Here)

In a mixing glass 2/3 filled with ice, add all ingredients and stir to chill. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass or coupe. Find another synonym for chill.

The nose, wow, is all smoke with sweet chocolatey notes. The first sip will stop you in your tracks as you taste both savory and sweet. It’s like liquid candied bacon; that’s a good thing FYI. The bitters here are the key. While the black walnut plays off the sweet earthiness of the Cocchi, the Angostura softens the Peat Monster, creating a balancing act that tones the smoke just right. The cocktail has a wonderful mouthfeel with a hint of syrup. Sweet Saddle Cocktail // stirandstrain.com