The Blood and Sand Cocktail

May 30, 2017

With the whirl-wind excitement of the weekend behind us, I’m finally getting around to the final “blood” titled drink in Mr. Boston’s 1935 cocktail book.

It didn’t hit me until mixing up this third installment but one of my favorite cocktails, the Bloody Mary, isn’t in this recipe book. I was rather perplexed by this finding, and looked up the Bloody Mary’s history to see if the drinks absence had to due with timing.

Though the Mary’s origins are said to be unclear, Fernand Petiot (another new bartender to me) claimed to have invented the bunch classic in 1921 while working at the New York Bar in Paris. As I discovered from the Block and Fall recipe, the New York Bar became Harry’s New York Bar and went onto earn credit for developing many well loved cocktails.

Fernand Petiot

Photo of the bartender credited with the original Bloody Mary, Fernand Petiot.

So if timing wasn’t the reason, why was the Bloody Mary passed over by Leo Cotton?

I suppose it could have been that Vodka was not popular with American drinkers during the 1930’s.

Apparently the clear spirit we readily use today (perhaps too readily) was once considered so distasteful, some mocked it as being the Russian word for horrible.

The rebirth of the 1941 Moscow Mule Cocktail has introduced fables crediting the ginger beer cocktail with the rise of Vodka’s current popularity. However, as with many liquor legends, it appears that no one really knows for sure. It is always fun to speculate though 🙂

The oldest record Mr. Boston’s website has for the Bloody Mary is a mere seven years before I entered the world. Yet, other American bartenders laid claim to the recipe as far back as the late 1930’s. Maybe Leo Cotton really disliked Vodka. Could it have been enough to refuse publishing cocktails containing it?

It is interesting that Mr. Cotton retired from editing the Mr. Boston’s Bartendering Guide in 1970, just two years before the Bloody Mary was said to have been added to the manual. Hmmmmm… very interesting indeed.

Now that I’ve established that Vodka will likely not be making an appearance in my Mr. Boston’s experiment, I suppose I should get to talking about the cocktail that did make the cut. Introducing the Blood and Sand.


Rumor has it that Rodolph Valentino’s 1921 motion picture, Blood and Sand, was the inspiration behind the naming of the cocktail.

Neither blood nor sand sound appetizing to me. I was however very excited to see my love affair with Scotch Whisky return. As much as I enjoy Gin, Scotch is where it’s at for me these days.

At it’s core, the Blood and Sand Cocktail is a variation of the Rob Roy Cocktail with the addition of fresh squeezed OJ and Cherry Kirschwasser (German Brandy). What is there not to like about that? The answer is, absolutely nothing! It’s perfection!!!

Ryan mixed up this scummy number while I wrote about the Bloodhound last night. First order of business was taste testing the bottle of Kirsch we picked up the night before.

While we are no strangers to Cherry Brandy, I don’t believe we have tried the Kammer Black Forest brand before. It was one of the better looking brands available under $40 so we decided to give it a go. Dang Cherry Brandy is expensive!

Kammer’s Kirsch is rather rough for neat sipping. Like the Serbian Apricot Brandy we’ve been enjoying, this clear liqueur is not sweet. Instead both Brandy’s are rather dry and the fruit appears too faint until it is mixed. It is really quite strange. On their own, each spirit is unassuming with very little coming from the fruit. Yet when another liquor or juice is introduced the fruit springs forth, sometimes taking over the flavor profile completely.

I feared my stomach would have a hard time with the acid in the Orange Juice. At first I was tempted to save myself the agony and pass up on enjoying the entire 3 ounce cocktail. Man am I glad I didn’t!

To my delight this citrus forward drink did not cause the pain I tend to experience from too many lemon / lime juice cocktails. It actually settled my stomach a bit after a heavy dinner. Perhaps the healing botanicals from the Italian Vermouth played a role? Wormwood is supposed to be great for tummy woes after-all.

A couple weeks ago Ryan and I discovered a relatively low priced Scotch while out picking up groceries. The single malt whisky from Glenlivet seemed like a steal at $29 and we had to try it on for size. It was very, very good! So good we picked up another bottle on our last visit in case the price goes up. Such an improvement over the Dewar’s I’ve been working my way through. If you happen to stumble onto the Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve, definitely give this one a go.


In the Blood and Sand Cocktail, the Glenlivet was smooth and unassuming. A perfect pairing to the Antica Formula sweet Italian Vermouth, Kammer Black Forest Kirschwasser and fresh juice. I highly recommend this cocktail to anyone who enjoys a well balanced fruity cocktail. Sooooo gooood!