At one of DC’s best cocktail bars, The Passenger, I recently enjoyed my first Blood and Sand, a delicious Scotch (yes, Scotch!) cocktail from the 1920s. I wanted to try it for myself when I got home, but the closest I had to Scotch in my bar was Mezcal, the smoky Mexican spirit I used in our Oaxacan Sunrise drink. Â So, I mixed up a somewhat Latin version of the Blood and Sand, the delicious and complex Sangre y Arena. Â â€“ Andrew
Read below for the full recipe!
Sangre y Arena
3/4 oz Mezcal
3/4 oz Cherry Liqueur
3/4 oz Sweet Vermouth
3/4 oz Blood Orange Juice
2 Dashes Chocolate Mole Bitters
Combine all the ingredients, shake well with ice, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Â A cherry or orange twist garnish is optional. Â Enjoy!
(For the original Blood and Sand, mix equal parts Scotch, Cherry Liqueur, Sweet Vermouth, and Blood Orange Juice. Â Shake, strain, and enjoy.)
This is a fantastic cocktail, rich and complex, unusual but completely delicious, with a beautiful deep red color. Â The ingredients might not sound like they work well together, but trust me, they do. Â The smokiness of the Mezcal, rounded out by the richness of the chocolate mole bitters, leads but doesn’t dominate this drink. Â The cherry and orange lend some sweet fruitiness that pairs really well with the savoriness of the Mezcal. Â It’s a totally unexpected combination, and it will look great in your glass.
For my Sangre y Arena, I used an aged AÃ±ejo Mezcal. Â The original recipe called for a Cherry Brandy; I used Rothman & Winter Orchard Cherry Liqueur, which combines bittersweet cherry juice with cherry brandy for a crisp but not-too-sweet taste. Â Don’t use Kirsch! Â Kirsch is too dry and will throw off the drink. Â If the Sangre y Arena is too sweet for you, you can try bumping the Mezcal and orange juice up to an ounce each for a drier drink.
The Sangre y Arena â€“ and the Blood and Sand before it â€“ gets its name from a 1922 Rudolph Valentino film about a bullfighter who is ruined by his own success, falls into drink and with ill-reputed women, and is eventually gored to death in the arena, Blood and Sand. Â Despite the film’s message of temperance, some brilliant mixologist honored the movie with this drink, which first appears in print (as far as I know) in the 1930 Savoy Cocktail Book.
Finally, a word of thanks to everyone who has commented and let us know how much you like our drink recipes, and a question: is anyone out there trying these at home? Â Let us know if you are, how your drinks are turning out, and any of your favorites and experiments!
Photo Credits: Nole Garey for Oh So Beautiful Paper