Behind the Bar: The Red Wax & Sand at Sol y Sombra

A Red Wax & Sand on the bar at Sol y Sombra.
A Red Wax & Sand on the bar at Sol y Sombra.
Lauren Gilger

"It's not just about vodka and Red Bull" any more, according to Dave Johnson, sommelier at Sol y Sombra.

The emergent cocktail culture that's dominating the bar scene today, he says, goes back beyond Prohibition, to the Gilded and Edwardian Ages (the "flowering zenith" of the Cocktail Age, as he puts it). "And it's really being done by young bartenders," he says.

So when he offered up a signature cocktail recipe for summer, Johnson called over (young) bartender Matthew McCullough to do the honors. He says the two are a tag team.

What McCullough calls "a twist on a Blood & Sand," Red Wax & Sand is a whiskey version of an old Scotch drink that got its name from the 1922 matador film of the same name.

Using Maker's Mark Bourbon Whiskey (a brand marked by each bottle's hand-dipped red wax top) instead of Scotch, McCullough drains the 'blood' from this classic cocktail - and leaves you with a pungent, citrus-y cocktail with just enough kick to make you want to run with the bulls.

1 ½ ounce Maker's Mark Bourbon Whiskey

¾ ounce Punt E Mes (a sweet vermouth)

¾ ounce raspberry liqueur

¾ ounce freshly squeezed orange juice


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