Scotch Whisky Cocktail: How to Mix a Blood & Sand

Regular readers of the Wild Chef might recall that when it comes Scotch whisky, I'm not exactly a connoisseur. I've always had trouble getting past the smoke (most of the Scotches I've tried have been on the peaty side), and I've just always been a bourbon guy.

I've been trying to keep an open mind about Scotch, though, and I'm starting to come around. It started earlier this year, on a winter trip with friends. I had a glass of Highland Park 18, neat, and loved its spice and warmth. And just a couple of weeks ago, I got to try two whiskies from Grant's distillery. First, I tasted a sample of their Family Reserve, the brand's wildly popular flagship blend. Then came the Scotch surprise--a bottle of Grant's ultra-limited Stand Fast.

The Stand Fast was a special project for Grant's: After discovering an "ancient whisky book" that belonged to Grant's founder, William Grant, their master distiller, Brian Kinsman, went to work recreating the 1912 Stand Fast that was described in the old book. After some trial and error, Kinsman found a blend that came "very close to what William Grant created back in 1912." The result is a whisky with a beautifully light color, a rich and malty nose, and a sweet and smoky taste. It's absolutely delicious. Grant's only made 100 bottles of the Stand Fast, and you won't find them in any spirit store near you. They're keeping them all to themselves--to share, enjoy, and preserve. After just the small glass I was lucky enough to try, I can't say I blame them.

And while I'm sorry that you can't experience the Stand Fast, the folks at Grant's did share a Scotch cocktail recipe that I highly recommend you try this weekend. It's sweet, smooth, and has an absolutely killer name. Enjoy.

Blood & Sand
- 1 part Grant's Family Reserve (or other whisky)
- 1 part cherry herring liqueur
- 1 part Lillet Rouge (or other sweet vermouth)
- 1 part fresh orange juice
- Orange half-moon slice (optional)

Combine all of the ingredients (expect the orange slice) in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously until the outside of the shaker frosts, about 30 seconds. Strain into a chilled martini glass or coupe, and garnish with the orange slice.