You Need To Drink This: Blood And Sand

By: Sarah Kovash
(Photo Credit: Sarah Kovash)

(Photo Credit: Sarah Kovash)

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Summer is a great time for many things, but for some of us the best part is hanging out with a refreshing cocktail.

If you include yourself in this group, allow me to introduce you to my favorite cocktail: the Blood and Sand.

It’s an old, prohibition-style cocktail that’s delicious, refreshing and really easy to gulp down on a hot summer day – so pace yourself.

Now, I realize “blood and sand” doesn’t exactly conjure up images of summer relaxation or really anything you want to put in your mouth, but there is a reason for the name.

I’m told that it’s named for the 1922 bullfighting movie starring Rudolph Valentino. Because of this – plus its description as a non-aggressive scotch drink – I’m also told that it’s a hit with the ladies.

But it’s still boozy and can pack a punch, so men, don’t be afraid to try it too.

“You can still feel manly having a cocktail,” says Cecil Usher, one of the bartenders at Meat & Potatoes on Penn Avenue.

I discovered this drink for the first time several years ago at a bar in San Diego and have found since then that it’s available if you look around, but just obscure enough to feel like a big deal when it is on a cocktail list.

“It’s unknown, but it does have a following,” Usher said. “It has a little buzz.”

Usher says the original cocktail is equal parts of the following:

  • scotch
  • Cherry Heering
  • orange juice
  • sweet vermouth

However, Meat & Potatoes prefers to make “spirit forward” drinks and theirs has a heavier scotch base.

If you’re also looking for some food to pair with your Blood and Sand, Usher recommends the Hudson Valley Duck Breast or any of the Asian-flavored dishes, like the salmon.

Or if you don’t care about pairing and just want some good grub, Monday nights from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. the restaurant is also serving a special menu of $5 burgers and $3 appetizers like loaded tots and a walking taco in a Fritos bag.

But if the Blood and Sand doesn’t sound like your kind of drink, don’t be afraid to chat up the bartenders. The guys at Meat & Potatoes are extremely knowledgeable and can probably introduce you to something you’ve never heard of before.

To try out my favorite Blood and Sand, Meat & Potatoes is located at 649 Penn Avenue in the Cultural District.

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If you love food too, be sure to follow Sarah on Twitter: @SarahtheKovash

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