Blood and Sand – the best whisky-based hot weather cocktail at London’s The Kensington

In this post:

  • Blood and Sand cocktail – the best hot-weather whisky cocktail
  • History of the Blood and Sand cocktail
  • Recipe for a Blood and Sand cocktail


It’s Hallowe’en today – so this month’s cocktail is the appropriately named Blood and Sand. How did I stumble upon this concoction? This summer I was staying at the gorgeous London hotel, The Kensington. I had somehow managed to do a special deal while booking which entitled me to a free cocktail.


Blood and Sand – the best hot-weather whisky cocktail

Naturally enough I decided to take advantage of this and hot-footed it to the comfortably welcoming bar where I found a helpful, exotically-moustachioed, bean-pole tall barman. I sought his advice, but when he asked me ‘long or strong’ and I said ‘strong’ he clearly struggled to find anything appropriate to the searing steaming weather. Finally, “why don’t you try a Blood and Sand”, he suggested.

It sounded rather good, and it also turned out to taste rather good too. Normally in the summer I switch from warming whisky to a cool classic gin and tonic, clinking and tinkling with ice and cut with tangy lemon. So I was surprised to find that the main event in this cocktail is whisky – although iron-pumpingly strong, and including potentially cloying cherry brandy, it’s still remarkably fresh and bright. As the temperatures sour, add more ice. As the winter draws in, add more whisky.


The history of the Blood and Sand cocktail

The Blood and Sand cocktail is named after the 1922 silent film of the same name, a rags to riches story about a boy brought up in poverty who becomes a famous matador. The original film (there have been two or three remakes) stars Rudolph Valentino and Rita Hayworth.


The original poster for the 1922 Paramount film, Blood and Sand
The original poster for the 1922 Paramount film, Blood and Sand


In the remake featuring Sharon Stone (see the trailer below) the blood orange juice is substituted for passion fruit.


Follow this link for more cocktails on Saucy Dressings.


Recipe for Blood and Sand cocktail

Serves 1


  • 30 ml/2 tbsp whisky
  • 30ml/2 tbsp red vermouth
  • 15 ml/1 tbsp cherry brandy – Sloemotion’s is my favourite (go to this post to find out more about this company’s natural fruit spirits)
  • 30 ml/2 tbsp blood orange juice
  • ice – optional




The glamorous bar at London's The Kensington
The glamorous bar at London’s The Kensington



Below you see the trailer on a steamy remake of Blood and Sand with Sharon Stone.



0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Related Posts

Terrific tangerine fizz cocktail discovered in Lisbon at Insólito

While Olga, head bar tender at Decadence in Lisbon, was working through a Smoke Me – a pre-prandial we were enjoying at neighbouring sister restaurant…
Read More

Sign up to our Saucy Newsletter

subscribe today for monthly highlights of foodie events, new restaurant at home menus, recipe ideas and our latest blog posts