Blood & Sand Cocktail

The classic Blood and Sand cocktail is a unique blend of sweet and smoky flavors. Blood & Sand combines Scotch whisky, fresh orange juice, cherry liqueur and sweet vermouth. The flavor of the scotch brings in hints of smoke which are then balanced with sweet notes from the orange juice. The cherry liqueur adds a slight dark berry taste that complements the other ingredients perfectly. Finally, the addition of sweet vermouth helps bring it all together to create a unique but balanced taste experience.

Blood & Sand Cocktail

Recipe by Maurice Beaver
Prep time





The Blood & Sand Cocktail is one of the best cocktails you can make with Scotch.


  • .75 ounce of Scotch

  • .75 ounce Sweet Vermouth

  • .75 ounce Cherry Liqueur or Cherry Brandy

  • .75 ounce Orange Juice (freshly squeezed)


  • Add Scotch, Sweet Vermouth, Cherry Brandy and Orange Juice into a shaker with ice
  • Shake the hell out of it until you get a good froth on it
  • Strain into a Martini Glass
  • Garnish with an orange twist


What Type Of Scotch To Use for Blood & Sand?

At a bar, unless specified, I would use whatever blended Scotch you use on the bar rail. Bells, Dewars, Cutty Sark, Famous Grouse, J&B, and Johnnie Walker Red are Scotch Whiskys perfect for this cocktail.

At home, I would use one of the above mentioned Scotches, or any other Scotch you like. I’d stay away from premium Scotches or Single Malt Scotches, due to their cost. Scotches heavy in Peat, like a Scotch from Islay are also not recommended, unless you want your Blood & Sand to taste extra smoky. As I love peaty Scotches, I often use Laphroaig to make my Blood & Sand at home. (Talisker is a close second)

Scotch is not a popular ingredient in mixed cocktails. A Rusty Nail and a Rob Roy are the two most popular recipes that use Scotch. Thus, if you are not a scotch drinker, don’t go overboard with your scotch purchases if you are putting together a home bar.

What brand should I use for Cherry Liqueur?

For the Blood & Sand Cocktail, you’ll want to use a Cherry Liqueur that is red in colour, so you’ll get that cool blood orange/red hue for your cocktail. In America, the most recommended Cherry Liqueur used for the Blood & Sand Cocktail is Cherry Heering, which tastes like black cherries. In Canada, a Cherry Brandy called McGuinness Cherry Brandy is used.

If your Blood & Sand does not have that brilliant orange-red hue, use a touch of Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur, combined with your Cherry Brandy. You don’t want to completely use Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur as it has a subtle cherry flavour when compared to Cherry Brandy or Liqueur. Made from the pits of Cherries, Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur is more nutty than fruity.

Do I need to use Freshly Squeezed OJ for my Cocktail?

Freshly squeezed Orange Juice is a must for a Blood & Sand cocktail for it to have that beautiful orange-red hue. Orange Juice from a cartoon or bottle may have extra colouring and sugars that contribute to the muddy look of a Blood & Sand cocktail. You’ll also want to ensure your Sweet Vermouth is fresh, and has been refrigerated.

My Blood & Sand Is Lacking Pizzazz

If your Blood & Sand isn’t hitting the spot, here’s a few things you can try:

  • When all of the ingredients are in the cocktail shaker, shake the hell out of it so you get a nice froth
  • Use a higher quality Scotch of your liking (peaty vs less peaty)
  • Use freshly squeezed Orange Juice, and less of it
  • Make sure your Sweet Vermouth is fresh. Sweet Vermouth that hasn’t been refrigerated, and open longer than a month does not taste great (it also attracts fruit flies)
  • Add a splash of Campari to spice it up.
  • Add two dashes of aromatic bitters to liven it up