Blood and Sand

I’m both proud and ashamed to say that this is the first cocktail with scotch that I’ve featured. I was privileged last year to be able to try a friend’s single malt scotch and it was one of the best things I’ve ever had! However it’s sort of a crime to mix it with anything, so that’s why we have blended scotch. My bottle of Teacher’s Highland Cream is a unique scotch due to its strong use of “peated malt.” A flavor that can really only be described as tasting like “burnt grain,” which is no where near as bad as it sounds. The scotch (while far from the quality of a nice single malt) does make for a fantastic whiskey sour.

So, flipping through my book of cocktails I was surprised to find this well balanced drink among many of the overly sweet or strong recipes. This particular cocktail had two other variants, but I felt that the one I chose to make represented the best of all three in terms of balance and presentation.

The cocktail itself is visually saved by the orange twist as its opaque and deep sandy brown isn’t the most inviting of colors. The aroma is a strong blast of fresh orange, which opens the imagination for what’s to come. The drink opens on your palette with a mild orange and whisky flavor. It moves to a sweet cherry and vermouth in the middle (however most of the cherry seems lost in this cocktail), and it finishes with the malt of the scotch beneath the complexity of the vermouth.

This is a uniquely complex cocktail which (at least for me) is overpowered by the use of the Teacher’s Scotch. I think by exploring other blended scotchs (likely with a more balanced flavor) a better cocktail may emerge. It’s certainly worth trying and I think worth making again, especially if you’re into whiskies. A dash or two of some orange bitters may also make this drink more well rounded, and a bit less sweet.

Alcohol Taste Rating: 7/10
Overall Rating 7/10

Blood and Sand

1 1/4 oz Scotch
1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth
1/2 oz Cherry Brandy or Liqueur (Cherry Heering)

1 oz Orange Juice
Orange Twist

Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist.

blood and sand

Toro Toro!

 

I should also mention that I tried an alternate version of this cocktail which uses 3/4 of an ounce of the four ingredients and calls for a stir and strain. Apparently with a quick google search this is the “classic” version of the drink. It sports a darker color and slightly more balanced flavor, but the tasting notes are very much the same. The use of more fruit though makes for a better finish to the drink (having a bit to munch on).

Variation: Stir and Strain 3/4 oz of all ingredients into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange slice and a cherry.

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The Groundhog Day

Not so much a cocktail this time as much as an event. Highlighted as Rita’s favorite drink in the 1993 movie “Groundhog Day,” the simple Sweet Vermouth on the Rocks with a Twist, has become a staple drink to make for every enthusiast out there. Finally getting my timing right this year I decided I was overdue.

For a good “Groundhog Day” cocktail it’s important to get a good sweet vermouth. Raise your eyes off of the bottom shelf and spend more than 8 dollars on a bottle. Trust me for this, and a good Manhattan, you’ll thank me later.

For my day to day needs I go with the Dolin Rouge vermouth as it’s a nice mixer and actually does wonders in various dishes in the kitchen. This French Vermouth will run you around $16 per 750mL bottle, and it’s well worth it.

As for the drink itself it’s been debated on whether or not to use a twist of lemon or orange, but really I’d say the difference is negotiable and adds more aroma than anything else. A good vermouth will have a spicy nose, and a balanced and slightly “sweet” flavor for the deep red/copper color. The after taste brings warm notes of citrus and a slight smokiness.

If you were living the same day over and over this drink might get boring, but for something different on a friday night, why not give it a try.

The Groundhog Day

1 1/2 to 2 oz Sweet Vermouth
Lemon or Orange Twist

Straight build in a rocks glass over ice. Rub the twist around the glass’ rim and drop it in.

“Sweet Vermouth, rocks, with a twist please. For you miss? The same.”

Blue Marlin

A cast into the Atlantic catches you a “Blue Marlin!”
With it’s citrusy aroma, and brilliant blue color you know this one is a catch!

Ok so nautical puns aside this is an interesting and powerful drink. The Blue Marlin Cocktail features a sugar rim and feels very tropical. Unfortunately the taste doesn’t quite come up to par with the classy appearance. I feel the drink is very lacking in a more well rounded taste palette. Of course I do prefer sweeter drinks, so it might just be me.

That being said the addition of the sugar rim, really helps make the drink manageable. It’s not very sweet in the first place, so having that extra bit on your lips redeems the cocktail a bit. Also I did need to substitute a little citron vodka into the mix which may have thrown things off a little bit.

Either way the Blue Marlin is a great drink in terms of presentation, but the taste isn’t for everyone.
Alcohol Taste Rating: 6-7/10
Overall Taste Rating: 5/10
Make it Again? Maybe. Try again with all citron rum, or variation with more juice

blue marlin cocktail

“This is a catch! …Too bad we’re looking for Barracuda”

Blue Marlin

2 oz Citron Rum (1/2 citron vodka, 1/2 light rum used)
1/2 oz Blue Curacao
1/2 oz Sweet/Sour
Lemon Wedge and Sugar (for
rim)
Orange Twist (or orange blossom)

Rum lemon wedge around edge and rim with sugar. Shake and strain rum, curacao, and sweet/sour with ice. Strain into prepared cocktail glass. Garnish with Orange Twist.