A belated celebration of World Cocktail Day 2015

let’s begin

Intrigued as to what makes our cocktail nation tick this World Cocktail Day, Hayes & Jarvis, surveyors of ‘holidays as individual as you’, commissioned a survey of over 1,000 cocktail drinkers to find out which is their favourite and have recently published the definitive Top 15, which I will get to soon.

I have been a cocktail drinker for only a year or two, well no, let me clarify that: I have been a cocktail explorer and maker for only a year or two, previously being ok with either mediocre or no cocktails in my life.

That all changed when I started to ask myself about what makes cocktail culture tick and what cocktails could be.

Having spent incredible evenings with the mixology marvels at MASH, Hawksmoor London, PDT New York, the Shangri-La in the Shard, London and various others around the world I swiftly learned that great mixology is an art form, a science and have since been a keen shaker and stirrer at home too.

I was contacted by Hayes & Jarvis to write a comment for their World Cocktail Day report and to give my view on cocktail culture. My response was impassioned and instinctive:

“As a whisky enthusiast through and through, the surge in popularity of cocktails in recent years has allowed a spirit previously heralded as best consumed neat to be used in much more creative and interesting ways both in home and in the on trade which can only be good for whisky but also for all spirits going forward.” – Greg Dillon

They nonchalantly asked what my favourite cocktail was, I noted that Blood & Sand is one that I love but never really get to enjoy too often, at home anyway and they sent out the most gorgeous cocktail making set and all the ingredients needed to create my Blood & Sand.

Why the Blood & Sand? Well the recipe is first known to have appeared in the 1930 Savoy Cocktail Book. And there endeth the history of this classic cocktail.

I first tried it at the Bowmore Devil’s Cask II launch in 2014 and have loved it ever since.


  • 50ml Scotch (10 Year Old Aberlour in this case)
  • 50ml Cherry brandy
  • 50ml Sweet vermouth
  • 50ml Fresh blood orange juice

The ingredients are as juxtaposed and seemingly not ones that a rational mind would combine into on glass but hey, I’m that kinda guy so why not?

Also the preparation is super simple which is always a bonus – add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker, fill with ice, shake and strain into a cocktail glass.

Sadly this classic did not make the top fifteen but some simply brilliant cocktails did, I’m not totally a fan of the top ranking cocktail and am a tad shocked that the first whisky based cocktail was at number six but there you go, all these things are subjective!

The top ten

  1. Piña Colada – 20%
  2. Margarita – 16%
  3. Mojito – 15%
  4. Martini – 9%
  5. Cosmopolitan – 8%
  6. Whiskey Sour – 6%
  7. Manhattan – 5%
  8. Long Island Ice Tea – 4%
  9. Singapore Sling – 3%
  10. Cuba Libre – 3%

Thanks to Hayes and Jarvis for the Blood and Sand, here’s to you and World Cocktail Day 2015, check our the results in full detail here.

Tags: blood and sandCocktailsworld cocktail day 2015


My name is Greg, and I’m a brand strategy consultant, writer, speaker, host and judge specialising in premium spirits. My mission is to experience, share and inspire with everything great about whisky, whiskey, gin, beer and fine dining through my writing, my brand building and my whisky tastings.

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