Say hello to summer with this ice-cold Salty Dog cocktail recipe! It’s citrusy, salty, and oh-so-pretty in pink.
It’s a refreshing blend of grapefruit juice and vodka (or gin, if you prefer). And it’s known for its bright, tangy, and slightly salty flavor.
You’ll love this delightful twist on the Greyhound. The key difference? The salted rim on the Salty Dog brings a unique and savory edge to each sip.
What Is a Salty Dog?
The Salty Dog is the epitome of refreshing. It’s one of those classic vodka cocktails you’ll crave all summer long.
It’s a three-ingredient cocktail made with vodka (or gin), grapefruit juice, and salt.
Traditionally, this classic cocktail comes in a highball glass with a salted rim and grapefruit wedge.
The ingredients list may sound familiar, and that’s because it is. As mentioned, it’s a play on the Greyhound cocktail.
Many sources say that actor George Jessel created it back in the 1950s. Whether that’s true or not, the extra hit of salt complements the drink so well.
Serve it for brunch, happy hour, pool parties, and more. It’s a simple thirst-quencher that will liven up any gathering.
What I love about the Salty Dog is it’s an easy cocktail for beginners. You can make it with just three ingredients.
Here’s what you need:
- Grapefruit wedges. For wetting the rim of the glass and for a garnish. You could substitute lime wedges, too.
- Salt. The salted rim is the signature touch of this drink. Quality coarse salt works best.
- Ice. This cocktail comes on the rocks and is best served cold.
- Gin or vodka. Pick which spirit you prefer. Vodka is neutral. Gin will make it more complex.
- Grapefruit juice. Fresh grapefruit juice is best. If you’re taking the store-bought route, look for 100 percent grapefruit juice.
How to Make a Salty Dog Cocktail
You can mix up this cocktail in just a few minutes. There are no extra bartending tools required, either.
Here are the steps:
1. Rim the glass. Use a grapefruit wedge to wet the rim of a highball glass. Then dip the rim in coarse salt.
2. Pour and stir. Fill the same glass with ice. Pour vodka or gin over the ice, top it off with grapefruit juice, and stir.
3. Garnish and serve. Garnish with a grapefruit or lime wedge if desired. Enjoy!
How to Make a Pitcher of Salty Dog
Do you have some guests coming over? Fix up a big batch!
The Salty Dog is one of my favorite pitcher cocktail recipes. You need minimal ingredients, and everyone can help themselves.
Use a 2 to 1 ratio of grapefruit juice to liquor. Here’s a general guide:
- Fill a pitcher with ice. Only do this when you’re ready to serve to keep it from melting. Also, chill the pitcher for 30 minutes so it’s nice and cold.
- Add the liquor and juice. Pour 2 cups of vodka or gin into the pitcher. Then, pour in 4 cups of grapefruit juice and stir to combine.
- Serve. Set salt-rimmed glasses and a bowl of grapefruit wedges on the side. Place the pitcher next to it and let everyone help themselves.
Also, if you want to make it ahead of time, skip the ice. Instead, fill up the pitcher with the liquor and grapefruit juice, then refrigerate.
When you’re ready to serve, add ice to the glasses.
Tips and Variations
Here’s some nifty tips and fun variations to try:
- Vodka or gin? It’s up to you! Vodka is a clean, neutral backdrop and my choice when serving a crowd. Gin adds an extra layer of herbal and aromatic complexity to the drink.
- Salt matters. Using a high-quality coarse salt can enhance the drink’s overall experience. Try sea salt or Himalayan pink salt for a nuanced flavor.
- Make it a Greyhound. Watching your sodium or want to skip the salt? Try a Greyhound instead. It’s the same cocktail -just skip the salted rim.
- Sweeten things up. For a sweeter touch, add a splash of simple syrup. You can also use flavored gin or vodka or a splash of grapefruit soda. I like citrus vodka for this.
- Try an aromatic garnish. A rosemary or thyme sprig are excellent options for an aromatic garnish.
- Make it fizzy. Add seltzer water or grapefruit sparkling water for a bubbly finish.
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