Blood and Sand: Scotch-based classic

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f you’re looking for a drink to toast the Edinburgh Festival (the thinnest excuse will suffice for the dedicated cocktail enthusiast) how about this Scotch-based classic with artistic associations? Invented for the premiere of a Rudolph Valentino weepie of 1922, Blood and Sand suggests the Sahara but we should really be thinking of Seville. In what was supposedly his best screen performance, the Latin lover played humble Juan Gallardo who achieves fame and fortune as a toreador. After succumbing to the sinister allure of the vamp Doña Sol, he ditches his loving wife but pays the ultimate price in the bullring. Attempting to précis this steamy farrago in the form of a cocktail must have been a tricky task for the unknown inventor (presumably in Britain since Prohibition has been in force for two years). His solution was to reach for cherry brandy and sweet vermouth (blood) and Scotch (sand). Moderated by a spot of freshly OJ, the result isn’t too bad at all. In the weird way of cocktails, the ingredients produce an inexplicable result. In this case, a slight spiciness – cinnamon with perhaps a hint of coconut – emerges. It’s a pleasing, rich, old-fashioned drink that’s certainly worth a bash if you happen to have a bottle of cherry brandy gathering dust in the drinks cupboard.                       By Christopher Hirst

40cl Scotch whisky
40cl fresh orange juice
30cl cherry brandy
30cl sweet vermouth

Shake vigorously with whole ice cubes