Last night I was at Bar Pilar, hanging out with one of DC’s best bartenders, Adam Bernbach. It immediately became clear that when chilling with bartenders who make the sort of cocktails that have brought me to this blog, I need to take notes. Sadly I failed to do that, so I’m going to have to crib a bit from memory. And by crib a bit from memory, I mean only relay one drink. Poorly.
Adam made what he described as a cocktail that has no business tasting good, a Blood & Sand. It’s a classic cocktail that succeeds in doing something that isn’t too easy: mixing scotch with things other than ice or water. Adam’s version was based around Compass Box Peat Monster, which is exactly like it sounds – a smokey monster of a scotch whisky. The recipe also includes cherry brandy, orange juice, and sweet vermouth, though this is where my lack of notes fail me, because I vaguely recall Adam including another ingredient in the cocktail.
I didn’t ask Adam for his exact recipe, but found one at The Cocktail Chronicles:
Blood and Sand
- 1 ounce blended scotch
- 1 ounce fresh-squeezed orange juice
- ¾ ounce cherry brandy
- ¾ ounce sweet vermouth
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass; garnish with a cherry.
Adam’s version of the Blood and Sand replaced the cherry with a lemon peel, rubbed along the rim of the glass.
The result is beautifully colored, complex, balanced cocktail that my friend who was drinking it aptly described as “bright.”