|Blood and Sand (with kirsch)|
Recently, however, I have thought more about the "cherry brandy" element. An article in the always-informative Imbibe Magazine piqued my interest in Cherry Heering, describing it as a "ruby-red liqueur made by soaking lightly crushed Danish cherries and a blend of spices in neutral grain spirits, then cask-maturing the mixture for up to five years, adding sugar during the aging process." The article goes on to clarify that Heering is not to be confused with kirschwasser or Maraschino liqueur. Cherry Heering is suggested for adding depth to classic libations such as the Singapore Sling or the Blood and Sand.
So I went out and looked for Cherry Heering, and managed to find it quite easily at one of my local liquor stores. The Blood and Sand using Heering is more robust, deeper-hued (a little blood mixed with the sand), and I would say has more mouth-filling depth of flavor. The Heering on its own is a deep red, and is richly flavored - tart but not sweet.
The recipe I follow for the Blood and Sand is from Gary Regan's Joy of Mixology. It is simple: equal parts. It suggests that any part could be increased or decreased for variations on sweetness or smokiness. Over time I have tried different whiskies in this cocktail, from J&B blended whisky to single malts. For my taste, a milder malt, with some smoke but not too much, is best good in this drink. When I used a very peaty Islay single malt, it was a bit too smoky (though not unpleasant). I preferred a heathery highland malt, which added just the right smokiness and layers of honey to the drink.
|Blood and Sand (with Cherry Heering)|