A bullfight is the most hypnotically awful event I have ever seen. I’m glad I went that hot afternoon in Seville, but have no desire to return.
Strangely elegant in its mismatched death, one of the haunting images that has stuck with me is that of the bull’s blood being mixed in with the sand by a team of horses pulling rakes across the stadium floor. It is done after every bull’s death to reset the stage for the next lucky victim.
That being said, and hopefully an image that greets you into your day (yea bull death!), I give you this week’s classic cocktail: Blood and Sand.
Named for the famous Rudolph Valentino movie of 1922 (and said to be Mr. Valentino’s favorite role of his career), the Blood and Sand is one of the few Scotch-based cocktails on the roster of classics.
The key to this drink is the use of the cherry brandy. While there are a number of cherry-based spirits on the market (with Kirschwasser being the most well-known and a dry spirit), we actually need to swing the pendulum in the other direction to land on a sweet, cherry-flavored liqueur like the mesmerizing Cherry Heering.
First produced in 1818 by a Dutchman named Peter Heering, Cherry Heering is a brandy-based liqueur made from dark cherries. Not overly sweet, it is regarded as the best of the best in the world of cherry liqueurs. Peter’s wee elixir lives on at fine bars around the world.
Part and Parcel
- 3/4 oz Scotch Whisky
- 3/4 oz Sweet Vermouth
- 1/4 oz Cherry Brandy
- 1 1/2 oz Orange juice
- Flamed orange zest for garnish
Filling the Bill
Pour ingredients into an ice-filled cocktail shaker and shake till cold to the touch. Strain into a chilled martini glass, get out your trusty lighter and flame the orange zest in an acid-fire flourish.
Add the garnish to your cocktail and sit back and thank the heavens you’re not a bull in Sevilla.