Sunday, August 23, 2015

Blood and Sand On The Anniversary of Rudolph Valentino's Passing

With today being the 91st anniversary of the passing of silent film star Rudolph Valentino, I wanted to profile a cocktail named after one of Valentino's most popular films. The Blood and Sand cocktail is named after the 1922 film of the same name that was directed by Fred Niblo and starred Rudolph Valentino, Lila Lee, and Nita Naldi. The film was based on the Spanish novel Blood and Sand (Sangre y Arena) by Vicente Blasco Ibáñez (1909) and the adapted play by Thomas Cushing. 

In looking for the origin of the Blood and Sand cocktail, I referred to the article Behind the Drink: the Blood and Sand by legendary bartender by Gary Regan which was posted to the website dated October 05, 2011. Here is what Regan said:
“Could you write about the history of the Blood and Sand?” asked my intrepid editor at “Of course, sir. Leave it to me,” I replied. 
To the best of my knowledge, the recipe for the drink first appeared in print in Harry Craddock’s 1930 The Savoy Cocktail Book. 
That’s it. The end. 
Unfortunately, that’s all we know about the origins of the Blood and Sand, a concoction that was introduced to me by advisor Dale DeGroff when he held forth from behind the bar at New York’s Rainbow Room, circa 1997. More on this in just a minute. 
So if we don’t know its inventor and we’ve no idea about the establishment in which it originally reared its spicy little head (unless it was the Savoy), what else do we know about the tipple? Nothing, save the fact that, in all probability, it was named for a 1922 movie starring Rudolph Valentino, the silent-film star known as “The Latin Lover.”
Well ok. That was short and sweet. Luckily for my I have a copy of the Savoy Cocktail Book so I can see the same recipe referenced above. Here is the recipe they list for the Blood and Sand:
Blood and Sand
1/4 Orange Juice
1/4 Scotch Whisky
1/4 Cherry Brandy
1/4 Italian Vermouth
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass
Some recipes listings for the Blood and Sand call for a slice of orange peel either squeezed over the cocktail to extract the oils or to light a flame over the rind and then squeeze the peel over the glass and running it over the rim. For the purposes of this cocktail, I am using Dewars 12, Cherry Heering, Martini and Rossi Rosso Vermouth and freshly squeezed Orange Juice. Since this is a cocktail of equal proportions, I decided to just use an ounce of each ingredient. So how did it turn out? DELICIOUS!!!!

The cocktail has a beautiful brownish/auburn color. It has a very aromatic feel to the nose. Considering the ingredients, the cocktail very well balanced. The slight smokiness of the Dewars 12 Scotch comes out along with the citrus of the freshly squeezed orange juice. The Sweet Vermouth and The Cherry Heering give it a bit of body and a little spiciness. Considering that I have had this cocktail on the radar for a while now, it is a cocktail that I would want to have again and to make if I were ever entertain. I definitely recommend this cocktail with the Dewars 12 or an even more smokier scotch for a stronger flavor.

Let me know what you think.

Until Then Happy Drinking,