The Blood & Sand is a classic drink, yet it’s an uncommon kind of cocktail—while most whiskey-based drinks use bourbon or rye, the Blood & Sand is one of the rare few that use scotch whisky. Though a somewhat divisive drink, it has its adherents, as well as its fans who enjoy playing with the formula. This variation on the cocktail comes from Jason Percival, the former bar manager at the now-closed Post 390 in Boston. The Scottish Beats is even more unorthodox than the original model, as it swaps out the orange juice for sweet vermouth and, oddly, beet juice.
Like any good whisky drink, the quality of the Scottish Beats relies on its base spirit. However, because it gets a number of other ingredients, including orange liqueur and beets, there’s no reason to splurge on expensive, aged single malts. A blended whisky like Johnnie Walker’s red or black labels or an affordable single malt should do the trick.
By far the most unusual component in this cocktail, and what makes it a unique concoction, is the use of beet puree. Steaming the beets before letting them cool and peeling them is the best way to go about it.
Much of the sweetness in the cocktails comes from Cherry Heering, a Scandinavian cherry liqueur. If you choose to substitute another cherry liqueur in its place, like maraschino liqueur, be sure to taste for sweetness before serving as the Heering tends to be on the sweeter side of things. Keep in mind, too, that the liqueur adds some of the deep red color that defines the drink. The color, sweetness and botanicals of the drink are also bumped up by the addition of sweet vermouth, while Cointreau (or another good orange liqueur if need be) adds brightness and the necessary orange element that normally comes in the form of freshly squeezed juice.
- 1 1/2 ounces scotch whisky
- 3/4 ounce Cherry Heering liqueur
- 3/4 ounce sweet vermouth
- 1/2 ounce Cointreau
- 3/4 ounce beet puree (cooked and peeled beets, pureed)
- Garnish: orange twist
Add the scotch whisky, Cherry Heering, sweet vermouth, Cointreau and beet puree into a shaker filled with ice and shake until well-chilled.
Double-strain into a coupe or cocktail glass.
Garnish with an orange twist.