The Easy Salty Dog Cocktail

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Cocktails made with freshly squeezed juice are always better. Most recently I made this Salty Dog Cocktail. Whenever we have drinks on a Friday afternoon, we’ve dubbed it Happy Hour at Home or Triple H, I have fresh oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and limes on hand. Most recently I made this Salty Dog Cocktail.

The Salty Dog is the second in my classic cocktail series. If you missed the first one, check out the Nutty Irishman, which is not only a delicious after-dinner drink, it’s ideal for St. Patrick’s Day.

A cocktail glass next to limes and a ruby red grapefruit.

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What’s the difference between a Salty Dog and a Greyhound?

The salty dog has 3 ingredients and I’m counting salt as an ingredient because, without it, it’s a cocktail called a greyhound. If you’ve ever made a margarita, you know how to salt the rim of a glass. 

So this is where things get a bit tricky. Depending on what you like, gin or vodka, you can use either when making this cocktail. It seems it was originally made with gin, during Prohibition but when the popularity of vodka grew after World War II, either became acceptable.

Ingredients for a salty dog cocktail.


Just a few ingredients and you’re on your way to enjoying this refreshing drink.

  • Vodka – Use a quality brand.
  • Limes – I like to use Key limes when I have them
  • Grapefruit juice – Fresh is best!

How do you make a Salty Dog?

Simplicity is one of the appealing aspects. Three ingredients, that’s it. I prefer vodka over gin but feel free to use gin in this cocktail if it’s your favorite.

When salting the rim, I like adding zest from the grapefruit before juicing it. It adds lovely color to the salt too. Using either a hand-held juicer or an electric one, juice the grapefruits. Strain the seed and you are ready to make the drink.

Overhead photo of a cocktail with limes and half a ruby red grapefruit.

How do you serve a Salty Dog?

While rimming the glass with salt, it’s not necessary at all. It does compliment the tartness of the grapefruit and takes the cocktail to the next level.

The Salty Dog is a great summer brunch drink. Tart, refreshing, and easy to make. You could even make it by the pitcher and serve over ice. Easily make a pitcher in advance, leaving the ice out until serving time so you don’t dilute the cocktail.

You could also freeze grapefruit juice in ice cube trays and use them in place of regular ice.

It’s perfect for Easter, Mother’s Day, or a bridal shower.

A cocktail garnished with a grapefruit wedge being held.

More popular cocktails

The Salty Dog is a cocktail that has been around for a long time and has grown in popularity. A brandy old fashioned is a drink that has seen a resurgence in popularity the last few years as brown liquors gain more traction.

Gaining in popularity are tea shot drinks and this white tea shot recipe is one you should try. It’s also made with vodka.

Salty Dog Cocktail Twitter Image

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Salty Dog Cocktail

A tart but refreshing classic cocktail perfect for summertime sipping.
5 from 30 votes
Prep Time10 minutes
Total Time10 minutes
Course: Beverages and Cocktails
Cuisine: American
Servings: 1 cocktail


  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 4 ounces freshly squeezed ruby red grapefruit juice
  • 1 Key lime or Persian lime wedge
  • Zest of 1 ruby red grapefruit
  • ¼ cup salt
  • Ice
  • Grapefruit wedge or lime wheel for garnish


  • In a shallow plate combine the salt and ruby red grapefruit zest. Using the Key lime wedge, rub it around the rim of a rocks glass. Immediately dip the moistened rim into the sugar/ zest mixture. Set aside.
  • In a stainless steel cocktail shaker filled with ice combine the vodka and ruby red grapefruit juice. Shake until the shaker becomes cold and frosty, about 2 – 3 minutes.
  • Fill the prepared rocks glass with ice and pour the vodka mixture into the glass. Garnish with a grapefruit wedge or lime wheel. Serve immediately.

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