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A world of unique, crafted gins

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The classic Salty Dog cocktail is a must-try!

The classic Salty Dog cocktail is a must-try!

Apr 9, 2024

The Salty Dog is a classic gin and grapefruit cocktail recipe that every mixologist should have in their repertoire.

The name may suggest "old grump" but one sip of this fabulously fun cocktail and you realise that nothing could be further from the truth. It's bursting with refreshing, sweet-tart grapefruit flavours and rich tones of gin, all brought together by a touch of salt that is simply magnificent.

And, with just a few ingredients, it's as quick and easy to make at home as it is delicious.

What is in a Salty Dog cocktail?

The classic Salty Dog cocktail recipe is made with just three key ingredients: gin, grapefruit juice and salt.

The cocktail is sometimes made with vodka instead of gin but we prefer gin because the botanical ingredients in gin add so much more depth and complexity.

But which gin do you use in a Salty Dog?

For us, it has to be a classic London Dry gin. London Dry gin has that iconic juniper-forward flavour profile that works so well with the juicy citrus fruit flavours of the grapefruit juice in this recipe.

The likes of Mermaid Gin, Tarquin's Cornish Gin, and Fynoderee Manx Dry Gin Spring Edtion are all great options for this cocktail recipe.

Salty Dog ingredient: fresh grapefruit juice
Fresh grapefruit juice is a key ingredient in the Salty Dog cocktail

When it comes to the grapefruit juice in this recipe, it can only be fresh grapefruit juice - or as fresh as possible. Concentrates and cordials simply will not give you a finished cocktail of the same quality.

By using fresh grapefruit juice you really get the full spectrum of sweet-tart, bitter and citrusy flavours from the fruit. They provide a wonderfully refreshing contrast to the gin that is utterly sublime.

Now let's talk about salt. Here, salt should never be an afterthought - common table salt or any other overly processed salts are too harsh for this recipe and can have a bitter aftertaste.

Look for types of salt that are usually used as "finishing salts" in the food industry. These are most commonly sea salts like Fleur de Sel and Maldon but any sea salt can work.

Trust us, picking the right salt makes all the difference to this recipe!

How to make a Salty Dog cocktail:

So you have your three ingredients ready, all that's left to do is make the Salty Dog. It takes but a moment.

The first step is to rim your glass with salt. Doing this before adding the other ingredients is a lot easier than doing it after.

Then all you have to do is pour the gin and grapefruit into your glass with ice and stir before adding an optional garnish of fresh grapefruit. Et voila! Your work is done.

If you have a lot of guests to serve, you could even mix the gin and grapefruit juice ahead of time in a big jug (just multiply the recipe below by however many guests you have coming).

Then all you have to do is rim and pour to order. Your guests will not believe how much flavour you have managed to get from just three ingredients!

Find the full Salty Dog here...

Salty Dog cocktail in a glass with salt rim and fresh grapefruit slice as a garnish

The best Salty Dog cocktail recipe:

50ml London Dry gin
Fresh grapefruit juice, to top
2 tbsp salt, to rim the glass
Fresh grapefruit, to garnish (optional)
Fresh thyme sprigs, to garnish (optional)

Start by rimming your glass. Add the salt to a saucer. Wet the rim of the glass with a little fresh grapefruit juice. Dip the moistened rim of the glass into the salt until evenly covered.

To construct your Salty Dog cocktail, add ice to the salt-rimmed glass followed by the gin and the grapefruit juice. Stir gently, being careful not to wipe off the salt on the rim of the glass. Garnish, if using. Serve and enjoy!

What is the difference between a Salty Dog cocktail and a Greyhound cocktail?

Greyhound cocktail recipe to come to the Salty Dog cocktail recipe
The Greyhound cocktail is a Salty Dog without the salt

The only difference between the Greyhound cocktail and the Salty Dog is the use of salt in the Salty Dog recipe. Indeed, the Greyhound is very much an older sibling to the Salty Dog.

It is thought that the Greyhound was invented in the early 20th Century, with one of its earliest written appearances being in the Savoy Cocktail Book, written by famed mixologist Harry Craddock and published in 1930.

The invention of the Salty Dog is widely credited to George Jessel at some point in the 1950's.

Legend says that George Jessel was looking for a way to reduce the bitter and tart tones of the grapefruit juice in the Greyhound and found that salt did the trick wonderfully. And so, the Salty Dog came into being.

You can find our Greyhound cocktail recipe at this link.

Find even more delicious gin and grapefruit cocktail recipes...