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The Blood and Sand is a unique classic cocktail made with Scotch! It’s full of complex flavor, featuring blood orange juice and cherry liqueur.

Blood and sand

Looking for a unique cocktail that will impress everyone? Try the Blood and Sand! It’s one of the few classic cocktails with Scotch from the 1920’s and 30’s. It’s similar to a Manhattan or Martinez, but with with blood orange juice and cherry liqueur. Instead of spicy and boozy like most Scotch cocktails, it’s the exact opposite! It’s light and semi-sweet, with a balanced and cherry-forward flavor. This one will please even people who are on the fence about Scotch. Here’s how to make it!

What’s a Blood and Sand cocktail?

The Blood and Sand cocktail is one of the few classic Scotch cocktails, and features blood orange juice and cherry liqueur. It was named after the 1922 silent movie about a bullfighter called Blood and Sand. The natural tie in? The blood orange juice, of course! It was first printed in a book in the 1930 Savory Cocktail book (a famous historic cocktail book). Even with its long history, the Blood and Sand hasn’t achieved the popularity of other classic cocktails.

The Blood and Sand is similar in flavor to a Manhattan or Martinez, but it’s truly unique! The ingredients in a Blood and Sand are:

  • Blended Scotch whisky
  • Cherry liqueur or cherry brandy (like Cherry Heering)
  • Sweet vermouth
  • Blood orange juice

Let’s chat through the ingredients, shall we?

Blood and sand

More about blended Scotch

Are you a Scotch fan? Chances are, you’ll know the Scotch you love: use whatever you have on hand! The Blood and Sand uses blended Scotch. Blended Scotch has a smooth flavor: almost like bourbon, but with more of a spicy finish. As its name suggests, it’s made by blending two types of whisky: barrel-aged malt whisky and grain whisky.

What cherry liqueur to use

There are a few types of cherry liqueur, so let’s break it down a bit.

  • Cherry liqueur is a dark red sweet liqueur made from cherries.
  • Cherry brandy is another name for this type of liqueur.
  • A common type of of cherry liqueur is called Cherry Heering. It’s red in color and tastes just like cherries. You can also find other brands of cherry liqueurs.
  • What not to use? Don’t use Maraschino liqueur: it’s clear and has a bit different flavor. Also don’t use Kirsch: it’s unsweetened.
Blood and Sand Cocktail

What’s sweet vermouth, exactly?

Vermouth is a fortified wine, meaning that liquor has been added. Make sure to store vermouth in the refrigerator: it stays good there for up to 3 months. There are two main types of vermouth: sweet (usually red) and dry (usually white). Here’s a bit more about sweet vs dry vermouth:

Lastly: the blood orange juice!

Some recipes call for the Blood and Sand to use orange juice…but the entire point of this drink is the blood! So you must use blood orange juice. You can buy blood orange juice two ways. Buy blood oranges at the store and fresh squeeze it, or buy a packaged container of the juice itself. Either one works, though of course fresh squeezed always has the best flavor. You only need 1 tablespoon per drink, so it’s just a hint.

Blood oranges

How to make a Blood and Sand cocktail (2 basic steps!)

The Blood and Sand is easy to mix up for your next gathering or cocktail hour! There’s no technique required: just throw them into a cocktail shaker. Here are the basic steps:

  1. Shake in a cocktail shakerTake the Scotch, cherry liqueur, sweet vermouth and blood orange juice, and shake it together in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. (Don’t have one? Use a mason jar!)
  2. Strain into a glass and add garnish. Strain the drink into the cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange peel.

When to serve a Blood and Sand cocktail

The Blood and Sand cocktail is a sophisticated and complex Scotch cocktail. It’s perfect for sipping as a:

  • Happy hour drink
  • Dinner party drink
  • Late night drinks drink
  • Guys or girls night drink
  • Cocktail hour drink
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Blood and sand

Blood and Sand Cocktail

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x


The Blood and Sand is a unique classic cocktail made with Scotch! It’s full of complex flavor, featuring blood orange juice and cherry liqueur.


  • 1 ounce blended Scotch whisky
  • 1 ounce cherry liqueur or cherry brandy (like Cherry Heering)
  • ½ ounce sweet vermouth
  • ½ ounce blood orange juice
  • For the garnish: Orange twist (here’s how to make one)


  1. Add the Scotch, cherry liqueur, sweet vermouth, and blood orange juice to a cocktail shaker. Fill it with ice and shake it until cold.
  2. Strain into a cocktail glass. If desired, garnish with an orange twist.
  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Shaken
  • Cuisine: Cocktails
  • Diet: Vegan

Keywords: Blood and Sand, Blood and Sand cocktail

More Scotch cocktails

Turns out there are quite a few tasty Scotch cocktails to try! If you’re a Scotch lover, try them all:

  • Penicillin A modern classic! Featuring Scotch with the flavors of honey, lemon and ginger, it’s got a unique, high-end vibe.
  • Scotch Sour A whiskey sour with blended Scotch, it tastes sweet tart and peaty on the finish.
  • Godfather The Godfather pairs Scotch with amaretto: a great intro-to-Scotch drink!
  • Rusty Nail A Scotch and Drambuie cocktail that’s got the 1960’s written all over it! We put a little shine on this classic slow sipper.
  • Rob Roy A Manhattan made with Scotch! This booze-forward cocktail is a sophisticated way to enjoy a good Scotch.

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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