This week for Last Call, I'm venturing into sacred ground. To be specific, I'm sharing my favorite cocktail that involves scotch. I know, I just sent a bunch of scotch purists running for the smelling salts. For those folks, the only adornment that scotch ever needs is a couple of ice cubes. For even more people, scotch is an acquired taste, at best. I love the Blood and Sand cocktail because it keeps both sides happy.
There's another hitch with scotch cocktails: They're a pain in the ass to mix. That smoky flavor clobbers almost anything you try to combine with scotch. So, you need something with a kick of its own. As any lover of Manhattans can tell you, sweet vermouth has a natural affinity for whisky. After all, what's a Rob Roy but a scotch Manhattan?
The Rob Roy is possibly the most famous scotch cocktail, but I vastly prefer the Blood and Sand. The name is a little off-putting, unless you're a fan of early cinema. It was named for a bullfighting movie starring the legendary Rudolph Valentino. The drink starts with scotch and vermouth, and it gets its trademark sanguine hue from the addition of sweet cherry brandy. A little tang from orange juice balances the cherry brandy's sweetness.
Yes, you read that right. Scotch, sweet vermouth, cherry brandy, and orange juice. It seems like something a monkey at a typewriter would have created. Turns out the combination is just about perfect. Who knew?
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The drink traditionally is served straight up, but if you add more orange juice, it turns into a marvelous brunch tipple.
Blood and Sand Blended scotch works better here; save the smoky peat-bombs like Laphroaig for drinking on their own. ¾ ounce scotch ¾ ounce sweet vermouth ¾ ounce cherry brandy (preferably Cherry Heering) ¾ ounce orange juice
Shake like hell with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.