This Salty Dog recipe will make your tastebuds sing! It’s an incredibly refreshing, sharp and tart cocktail with a salted rim that cuts through the sweetness of the grapefruit. It’s the perfect drink when you want something light and fruity.
Three other favorite grapefruit-centric cocktails include our Paloma, Sea Breeze, and a Bee’s Knees.
Easy Grapefruit Cocktail
While I certainly love a hot toddy or Irish coffee during the winter months, sometimes I want a drink that’s a bit lighter and refreshing. And since grapefruit comes into season in January, a Salty Dog cocktail fits the bill perfectly.
It’s light and fruity, with fresh grapefruit adding a tart citrus flavor, and it can be made with rum or gin – your choice! Add a salted rim and you’re good to go. It’s also the perfect drink for summer relaxing by the pool.
What Is A Salty Dog Drink?
A Salty Dog cocktail is a twist on the traditional Greyhound cocktail. It’s made with gin and grapefruit juice, just like a greyhound – the only difference is the salted rim.
This classic drink has been around since the 1920s and was traditionally a gin drink, though it’s sometimes made with vodka today.
This grapefruit cocktail is made with just 3 ingredients, plus ice and garnishes.
(Scroll below to the printable recipe card for details and measurements.)
- Salt – I used a combo of kosher and sea salt for the rim. Himalayan sea salt also works and looks nice with pink sanding sugar.
- Gin – You can also use vodka.
- Grapefruit juice – Freshly squeezed grapefruit is best because the sweetness works so well with the salt. Fresh grapefruit juice from a carton works, too.
- Garnishes – I like to garnish my salt dog with grapefruit and thyme.
What Liquor Goes Into a Salty Dog?
A salty dog cocktail is typically made with gin but vodka also works great. There’s no need to buy topshelf liquor for this grapefruit cocktail but I definitely recommend using quality liquor – one that you generally enjoy drinking is a good start.
How to Make a Salty Dog Cocktail
This classic cocktail comes together in just a few simple steps.
(Don’t miss the easy printable recipe card below with all the details.)
- Rim the glass. Run a slice of grapefruit around the edge of the cocktail glass. Press into a small dish of salt.
- Shake. Shake the gin and grapefruit juice with ice to chill.
- Serve. Strain into a glass over ice. Garnish with thyme and a grapefruit slice if desired.
A Note On The Salt Rim
For a pretty visual effect, we used a combination of sea salt and pink Himalayan salt to rim the glass. For a more pink effect, you could try pink sanding sugar mixed with sea salt. The salt is a nice surprise paired with the tart citrus flavors and makes the drink look extra elegant.
Tips & Variations
As with most classic cocktails, there are several ways to customize this grapefruit cocktail.
- Add a splash of lime juice. The citrus can really enhance the grapefruit flavor and adds some more acidity to the drink.
- Sweeten it up a bit with simple syrup. A salty dog is not a sweet cocktail, it’s meant to be a bit tart. However, if you prefer drinks on the sweeter side, you can easily add simple syrup to taste.
- Turn it into a sparkling cocktail. For a sparkling salty dog, top off the glass with some soda water.
- Use quality ingredients. Since this cocktail is made with very few ingredients, it’s important to use the best ingredients possible, like fresh grapefruit and your favorite gin or vodka.
Can This Cocktail Be Prepared in Advance?
If you want to make a salty dog cocktail pitcher, you could combine the gin and grapefruit juice in a pitcher with some grapefruit slices and refrigerate ahead of time. Typically when I make pitcher cocktails, I’ll also add some soda water for the sparkling effect and to make them go further but it’s best to add that just before serving.
Salt the individual glass rims and then when it’s time to entertain, pour the cocktail over ice in the glass.
More Refreshing Easy Cocktail Recipes:
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Salty Dog Cocktail
- Kosher/sea salt , for the rim
- Himalayan sea salt/pink sanding sugar , for the rim (optional)
- 2 ounces gin or vodka
- 4 ounces grapefruit juice
- sliced grapefruit , to garnish
- sprig thyme , to garnish
- Put the salt into a dish. If using pink salt, mix it with sea salt for a nice visual effect.
- Run a slice of cut grapefruit around the edge of a cocktail glass, then press the edge of the glass into the salt and rotate to coat the rim with salt.
- In a cocktail shaker, add the gin and grapefruit juice and shake vigorously.
- Fill a cocktail glass with ice then strain over the cocktail.
- Add a slice of grapefruit and sprig of thyme to garnish, if desired, and enjoy!