The Salty Dog is Gin and Grapefruit in an Easy Mixed Drink

The Popular Salty Dog Cocktail
Gin and grapefruit juice with a salty rim. The Salty Dog is a super easy drink that will inspire new cocktails. Annabelle Breakey / The Image Bank / Getty Images
  • 3 mins
  • Prep: 3 mins,
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: 1 drink (1 serving)
Ratings (21)

The Salty Dog is a popular and easy mixed drink that adds a couple of twists to the vodka and grapefruit Greyhound. In this recipe, we swap the Greyhound's vodka for gin and add a salty rim. Those are the only differences, which makes it easy to remember both drinks. Once you learn one, the other is easy!

A London dry gin is best in the Salty Dog and this is one of those drinks where you can be a little thrifty. Feel free to use one of the cheaper gins available and save the best gin for your Martinis.

Grapefruit can be too sour for some tastes. If this is true for you, add a dash of simple syrup to bring in a little sweetness and balance it out.

What You'll Need

How to Make It

  1. Rim a chilled collins glass with salt.
  2. Fill the glass with ice and add the gin and juice.
  3. Stir well.
  4. Garnish with a lemon or lime wedge.

3 Ways to Improve the Salty Dog

The Salty Dog is perfect for any occasion and season. It is also a great drink to play with and make your own. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Add Bitters. The Salty Dog can be enhanced quickly with just a few drops of fruit bitters.

You will be amazed at the subtle difference this can make.

  • Fee Brothers Peach Bitters is a personal favorite and you might try their grapefruit bitters as well.
  • Scrappy's Bitters makes a lavender that adds a nice floral touch.
  • If you have that trusty bottle of orange bitters in the bar, that may be the easiest option.

Buy Fee Brothers Peach Bitters at Amazon.com

Make it a Martini. The Salty Dog is great on the rocks, but it also makes a nice, fruity martini. The transformation is easy; we just need to downsize it a little bit.

The average 'up' cocktail (which includes martini drinks) is 3-4 ounces because the glasses are smaller and they tend to have a higher concentration of liquor. The Salty Dog is typically a 6-ounce drink, so a quick adjustment is required.

Start out with 1 1/2 ounces gin, 2 ounces grapefruit juice, and a dash of simple syrup.  Shake the drink with ice and strain into a salt-rimmed cocktail glass.

  • This mix will retain that fruit-forward flavor and the gin gives it a nice botanical background. Adjust this to your personal taste.
  • When we shake drinks, the ice dilutes the mix and adds about 1/2 ounce of water. The finished drink will be around 4 ounces.
  • Add a dash or two of those recommended bitters and don't forget about the salted rim. In the end, you will have a great martini!

An Herbal Muddle. Another quick improvement for the Salty Dog is to add a complementary herb. Rosemary, mint, and basil are all perfect pairings with grapefruit and can add a little pizzazz to the drink.

Another approach is to combine the herbs and syrup into a flavored simple syrup. For the DIY-loving bartender, this is an easy way to go. Once you have the mint or rosemary syrup, it can be added to other cocktails as well.

The Salty Dog Makes a Fantastic Party Punch

The combination of gin and grapefruit is the perfect inspiration for a punch. It is fabulous for a small brunch party and can be made as small or large as you need.

  • The 1:2 ratio of gin to grapefruit is ideal for a small pitcher.
  • For a larger punch, adjust that to at least 1:3 so the crowd doesn't unexpectedly become too intoxicated.

It is also not a bad idea to finish this punch off with a little sparkle. A touch of ginger ale or club soda makes almost any punch a little more appealing.

How Strong is the Salty Dog?

The Salty Dog is a casual drink. The concentration of juice makes it one of those cocktails that you can easily enjoy for a few rounds without falling on your face. Of course, if you finish all three rounds in an hour, that is another story!

With an 80-proof gin, the Salty Dog recipe above would weigh in at a mild 12% ABV (24 proof). This is comparable to a glass of wine.