When I was in college, the best bar in town was a two-room dive with pool tables, picklebacks (pickles, too!), and $1 Jell-O shots on the weekend. But the crowning jewel was their grapefruit juice, freshly squeezed from an old fruit presser, which was the base for the best greyhound cocktails I’ve had to date. At that time, I was just starting to become the salt fiend I am today, and carried around a little tin of flaky sea salt in my bag, to sprinkle on salads, fries, and even my sweet-tangy cocktails. Little did I know, when I added salt to that drink, I was essentially making a salty dog cocktail. A salty dog is a greyhound (that’s roughly one part vodka or gin to roughly four parts grapefruit juice, served in a rocks glass over ice) with a salted rim.
If you like to taste more than grapefruit in your drink, a salty dog tastes best with gin (which would’ve been classic when the drink came into prominence back in the 1920s); those who prefer a drink that tastes mostly like juice should opt for vodka (which you’d be more likely to find offered in the drink if you ordered it at a bar today). Since this cocktail is so simple, using freshly squeezed grapefruit juice, as opposed to bottled or canned, is basically nonnegotiable. If you want a drink with a bit more excitement, I am formally giving you permission to go slightly off-key: Swap in tequila or mezcal, or even a fortified wine or aperitif like sweet vermouth, Lillet, or Campari for the clear liquor; or try 3½ ounces grapefruit juice and ½ ounce fresh lime juice.
- Prep time 10 minutes
- Serves 1
1 1/2 ounces
vodka or gin
freshly squeezed grapefruit juice, strained if you’d prefer no pulp
- Pour kosher salt onto a plate or shallow bowl. Rub the grapefruit slice halfway around the rim of a rocks glass and dip the glass into the salt (reserve any leftover salt in the dish for more cocktails, use in another dish, or discard). Reserve the grapefruit for serving.
- Fill the glass with ice. Add the vodka or gin, then top with the grapefruit juice. Stir gently to combine. Garnish with the reserved grapefruit slice.