Salty Dog Cocktail

DrinkCocktailGrapefruitVodka

Have you ever had a Salty Dog? Not to be confused with the one that jumps in the ocean (ha), this summertime sipper is made with grapefruit juice, vodka, and yes, salt. It's a zingy little drink that's pretty to boot!

Photography Credit: Nancy Mitchell

A Salty Dog is the perfect hot-weather drink: bright, citrusy, and fresh, with a little verve from the salt—basically, perfect for patio sipping. It’s like a grown-up screwdriver!

THE INGREDIENTS FOR A SALTY DOG

If you’ve never had a Salty Dog, the ingredients might sound a little strange. Vodka, grapefruit, and salt? Really, that’s a thing? It is!

It’s so simple and unexpectedly delicious that it may become your summer go-to.

Salty Dog with Grapefruit salty dog grapefruit drink with ice and salt rim

FUN FACT ABOUT THE SALT

Leave out the salt rim and you have a Greyhound, an equally nice cocktail.

I like the salt rim of the Salty Dog (the etymology here is fairly obvious) for two reasons:

  1. It looks fancy
  2. Salt adds dimension to a drink, just as it does to a dish.

Use a salt with a large, rough grain (like kosher salt) for the best results.

Greyhound vs. Salty Dog drink peach salty dog with salt rim closeup

A QUICK NOTE ABOUT GLASS SIZE

You’ll notice this drink doesn’t call for specific amounts of vodka and grapefruit juice. Instead, you’re instructed to fill the glass with ice, and then roughly halfway with vodka. This makes for an easy recipe (nothing to measure!), but it also means the size of your glass is especially important.

A glass around 8 to 10 ounces is good. Anything more, and you’ll probably run out of grapefruit juice, or end up drinking a truly massive amount of vodka.

WHICH VODKA TO USE

I like Tito’s, but any nice mid-range vodka will do. Since you’re mixing with grapefruit juice, there’s no need to go super-premium.

LOVE A GOOD COCKTAIL? HERE YOU GO!

Salty Dog Cocktail Recipe

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 cocktail

Ingredients

  • Fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice (use a sweeter, prettier variety, like pink or red grapefruit)
  • Vodka
  • Salt for rimming (kosher salt or ground sea salt is best)

Method

1 Salt the rim: Pour salt in a shallow dish. Cut a notch into a slice of grapefruit, then run the notch around the rim of the glass. Gently press the glass in the dish to rim it with salt.

2 Add the ice and vodka to the glass: Add ice to the salted glass, then fill the glass one-third to one-half full with vodka. (How much vodka depends on how strong of a drink you'd like—I don't recommend any less than a third, unless you want your drink to be very grapefruit-forward and sour.)

3 Add the grapefruit juice: Fill the glass the rest of the way with the fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice.

4 Stir: Give it a little stir, and enjoy!

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Nancy Mitchell

Nancy is a writer and photographer living in New York. She makes drinks with local and homegrown ingredients and writes about the New York cocktail scene on her Instagram feed and at her blog, The Backyard Bartender.

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How to Make a Salty Dog Drink closeup of salty dog cocktail with ice and saltSalty Dog Cocktail