A Greyhound becomes a Salty Dog with the addition of a salted rim. Still the delicious cocktail with vodka/gin and grapefruit but with a new savory element infusing every sip.
Never underestimate the power of the rim.
That’s what an examination of some of the best cocktails has taught me. Frozen Margaritas, Bloody Marys, and so many others… they all benefit from having some sort of seasoning coating the top of their glass. And while the original drink certainly went down easy, the rim adds texture, taste, and, to be honest, fun to the whole endeavor.
The Salty Dog, you will quickly realize, is a Greyhound with a salted rim. The original Greyhound is generally believed to have been created in the 1920s/1930s by Harry Craddock, a bartender at the Savoy Hotel in London, England. The idea to add the salted rim came later, in the 1950s, though no one can really ascertain the genius who stood upon the shoulders of giants to create something deserving of its own spotlight.
So whether you’re a Greyhound enthusiast looking to elevate your favorite drink or a newcomer to the whole gin-grapefruit game, it’s time to wet those rims and turn a mutt salty!
What is the Best Gin or Vodka to Use in a Salty Dog?
First, let’s answer the question, “Should I use gin or vodka?” While the decision ultimately comes down to personal preference, these spirits do have certain characteristics that may sway you one way or the other. Vodka, for instance, is a neutral-tasting spirit. Unless I’m using a flavored vodka, I will invariably say that vodka “just tastes like alcohol,” which, I admit, doesn’t really clear things up. In this case, I would say, though, that you should choose vodka if you want the other ingredients—the juice and salt—to dominate the flavor profile of your cocktail. As for which brand, Ketel One is crisp and smooth, Grey Goose is a higher-end variety, while Tito’s is made from yellow corn, as opposed to potatoes or wheat, and is therefore preferred by keto/low-carb dieters.
Gin, on the other hand, has a touch of the botanic to it, giving the spirit an herbal and aromatic quality. It certainly tastes great alongside the grapefruit and salt but is less subtle than the vodka. There are many to choose from: Tanqueray is a dry, well-balanced gin; Bombay Sapphire has floral and citrus hints; while Hendrick’s uses cucumber and rose to influence its taste.
- 2 oz. gin or vodka
- 4 oz. freshly squeezed grapefruit Juice
- salt (for rimming)
- Wet the rim of your glass with a grapefruit wedge, then dip it into salt.
- Fill the glass with ice cubes.
- Pour your gin or vodka and grapefruit juice over the ice.
- Stir the contents of the glass gently and serve with a straw.
Tips & Tricks to Making a Perfect Salty Dog
- Use fresh grapefruit juice instead of the store-bought stuff, which usually contains additives and sugars that aren’t good for you nor will they improve the taste of your cocktail.
- Give the drinker the option of a Greyhound and a Salty Dog by only moistening and salting half the rim. Or they can taste both with each sip by drinking where the salt meets the naked rim.
- For a sweeter drink, add simple syrup (1:1 mix of sugar and water) or agave syrup.
- Don’t overdo the salted rim; one dip should do it.
Salty Dog Cocktail Variations
Salty Dog Mocktail: Skip the gin or vodka and use a non-alcoholic substitute. Alternately, you can enjoy a glass of grapefruit juice with a splash of soda water and the salted rim.
The Greyhound: The original. Gin/vodka and grapefruit juice without the salted rim.
The Salty Chihuahua: Replace the gin with tequila
The Salty Bulldog: Use limeade or lemonade instead of grapefruit juice.
The Salty Poodle: Add a splash of cranberry juice to the cocktail.