Friday Cocktails: Blood and Sand

Blood and Sand
Scotch, Cherry Heering, vermouth, and orange juice create a smoky-sweet effect, equally good topped with extra juice and served for brunch.Maxime Iattoni

There's a precise alchemy to the making of scotch-based drinks—unlike mixer-friendly vodka, gin, or rum, the complexity of a barrel-aged spirit calls for a thoughtful balance of sweet, bitter, smoky, and herbal additions. The list of great scotch cocktails is short, but those that are great are truly great—perhaps none more improbably wonderful than the Blood and Sand, a combination of scotch, cherry heering, vermouth, and orange juice that together create a smoky-sweet effect that makes it a natural new-favorite-drink contender for lovers of the Manhattan or Old Fashioned.

Created in London in the 1920s and named for a bullfighting movie starring Rudolph Valentino, the Blood and Sand is an essential drink in the arsenal of any classic cocktail fan, and it's versatile, too: it's equally good made in the bracing proportions of the classic recipe, or topped with extra orange juice if you want to serve the drink at brunch.