Because mixology is so popular in the U.S., a lot of whiskey drinkers have learned about different whiskey cocktails. But did you know that only a few cocktails use scotch whiskey? If you want to try a scotch whisky cocktail, we recommend that you try the blood and sand cocktail. Below, you will find out more about this delicious whiskey cocktail. 

Who created the blood and sand cocktail?

The “blood and sand” cocktail is one of the classic scotch whisky recipes and has been around since the 1920s. While it has been around for a long time, it is still not quite popular. Its history is a bit muddy. No one knows who started concocting this cocktail. 

When was the blood and sand cocktail invented?

The blood and sand cocktail first appeared in the 1930 Savoy Cocktail Book, a popular book at that time about making different delicious cocktails. At that time, it was thought to have been inspired by the 1922 silent film about a bullfighter. The blood orange juice in it signifies its relation to that film. The film was called Rudolf Valentino, and critics thought that it was his best film to date. 

How to make a “blood and sand” cocktail

What are the ingredients you need to make a blood and sand cocktail? 

Blended scotch whisky 

If you are a scotch whisky drinker, then the blood and sand cocktail is perfect for you. You would need to get the blended variety, though, which is composed of grain whisky and malt whisky. Blended scotch whisky has a similar taste to bourbon, but it has a spicy aftertaste. 

Cherry brandy or cherry liqueur

Made from cherries, cherry brandy or cherry liqueur is a deep-red alcoholic drink that tastes sweet. Cherry Heering is the cherry liqueur often used to create a “blood and sand” cocktail. Remember that you can’t use Maraschino and Kirsch brands, as they do not go well with the cocktail. Maraschino can’t be used because it does not have a red color and has a different flavor. Kirsch can’t be used because it is unsweetened. 

Sweet vermouth

Vermouth is a wine with added liqueur. It can be used for up to three months when stored in the refrigerator. Sweet vermouth is one kind of vermouth. It is often red and has a sweet taste with a hint of spiciness. It is used to make many classic cocktails, such as the Manhattan. The other kind of vermouth is dry vermouth, usually colored white. Dry vermouth is often used to make martinis. 

Blood orange juice 

There are two ways in which you can get blood orange juice to make your blood and sand cocktail. The first one is to buy blood oranges and squeeze them yourself. The second one is to purchase ready-made blood orange juice from the supermarket. Without a doubt, freshly squeezed blood orange juice tastes better. To make one glass of the blood and sand cocktail, you need just one tablespoon of blood orange juice. 

How do you make a “blood and sand” cocktail?

Making the blood and sand cocktail involves only two steps. There is no need to be a mixology expert to be able to make one, so if you are a newbie to making cocktails, you can feel confident in getting it right. 

  1. Pour one ounce of cherry liqueur, two ounces of blood orange juice, half an ounce of sweet vermouth, and one and a half ounce of blended Scotch whisky into a cocktail shaker with ice. 
  2. Shake vigorously and pour into a glass, leaving the ice in the shaker. 

You can add a slice of orange or a Maraschino cherry as a garnish to the blood and sand cocktail if you want to.

A great cocktail inspires different variations of it. The “blood and sand” cocktail is no different. You can easily switch up the ingredients or the brand of blended whisky to create a new “blood and sand” cocktail. 

One variation is to replace the passion fruit juice with blood orange juice and the sweet vermouth with red wine. When you mix these two with whisky and cherry liqueur, you will have a “blood and sand” cocktail that has a milder taste compared to the one made using the original recipe.  

Keep in mind that when switching ingredients, you cannot add more than an ounce of whisky, as the taste of the cocktail would be strong. 

When do you serve a blood and sand cocktail? 

The blood and sand cocktail is perfect for serving on many occasions. You can have it during your girls’ night out at your house. It is also great as a dinner party drink or during cocktails at a formal event. You can enjoy this cocktail anytime you wish at home, as it is so easy to make. 

What does a blood and sand cocktail taste like?

The blood and sand cocktail looks like it will taste strong, like Manhattan, due to its dark red color, but you would be surprised to find the opposite. People who don’t like Scotch whisky are surprised that they can enjoy this cocktail made with scotch. The sweet flavors in the blood and sand cocktail balance the scotch’s strong flavor. It has a rich taste without a strong alcoholic flavor, so it goes well with savory foods. Its finish is a complex blend of oak, vanilla, orange, and cherries. 

How much would a “blood and sand” cocktail drink cost?

The price of the “blood and sand” cocktail would vary depending on the ingredients used. Blended scotch whisky, for example, tends to be affordable, but price variations exist. 

History of “blood and sand” cocktail 

The Blood and Sand Cocktail was first served in 1930. Harry Craddock’s Savoy cocktail book However, there is some background to the cocktail before that. The red-hued cocktail was inspired by the silent film Blood and Sand, which was released in 1922. According to, the 1922 silent film was a box office success, but no one knows who was inspired to create the cocktail by the film. So, it was a good thing that Harry Craddock put the recipe in his book in 1930. The film’s star is Rudolph Valentino, a bullfighter who rises from humble beginnings to become one of Spain’s greatest matadors, only to lose it all. While this was not Valentino’s best film, he claimed it was his most outstanding performance. 

The Blood and Sand Cocktail takes its name from the 1922 silent film of the same name about a bullfight. The orange juice stands in for the sand, and the scotch represents the blood. According to the website, the cocktail’s association with the film stems from the red juice of the blood oranges used to make it. The romantic and tragic story of “Blood on the Sand” is conveyed both by the name and the cocktail itself. American drinkers didn’t take notice of the Savoy Cocktail until Harry Craddock published his recipe for it in the 1930 edition of the Savoy Cocktail Book. It lives up to its name with its dark hue and splash of blood orange juice. One of the few traditional cocktails to actually include Scotch, this is a real rarity. [source: MoneyInc]


If you are put off by scotch but are interested in trying it, then the blood and sand cocktail is right for you. You would be able to taste a hint of scotch in it, but the flavor would not be strong. Of course, those who already love scotch will also enjoy the “blood and sand cocktail.” The cocktail is so easy to make, and you can serve it on different occasions or enjoy it yourself in the comfort of your home.