Greyhound Drink

Greyhound cocktail with a wedge of lime

The Spruce / Emily Baker

Prep: 3 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 3 mins
Serving: 1 serving
Yield: 1 cocktail
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
372 Calories
2g Fat
74g Carbs
8g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 372
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 3%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 15mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 74g 27%
Dietary Fiber 19g 67%
Total Sugars 17g
Protein 8g
Vitamin C 403mg 2,015%
Calcium 186mg 14%
Iron 4mg 24%
Potassium 1128mg 24%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Refreshingly tart and quick to make, the beauty of the greyhound cocktail lies in its simplicity. The popular mixed drink requires nothing more than vodka or gin and grapefruit juice. While it doesn't appear on many bar menus, the greyhound is one that all bartenders know and a classic that everyone should try.

Gin was the original spirit of choice in the Prohibition-era greyhound. When vodka caught the attention of American drinkers after World War II, it quickly replaced the gin. Either spirit is an excellent choice, and the simple two-ingredient cocktail offers an excellent base for experimentation: Sweeten it, add soda or other fruits, pour an infused vodka, or give it the salty dog rim. While it's most often served tall over ice, many drinkers also enjoy it up in a cocktail glass.

The simplicity and versatility ensure you'll never get bored with this grapefruit cocktail. It is an ideal choice for any occasion, from brunch to happy hour and cocktail parties to a casual night at home.

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"When the ingredients and proportions of a cocktail are correct, they simply sing. This recipe is no exception. It’s one of those cocktails I make for people, and after one sip they remark '…I make these at home all the time and they don’t taste as good as this.' With this recipe, they will now." —Sean Johnson

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Ingredients

  • 2 ounces vodka, or gin

  • 4 ounces grapefruit juice

  • Lemon wedge, or lime wedge, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for greyhound cocktail
    The Spruce / Emily Baker
  2. Pour the vodka and grapefruit juice into a collins glass filled with ice cubes.

    Grapefruit juice and vodka poured into a Collins glass
    The Spruce / Emily Baker
  3. Stir well.

    Greyhound cocktail stirred well
    The Spruce / Emily Baker 
  4. Garnish with a lemon or lime wedge. Serve and enjoy.

    Greyhound cocktail with a lime garnish
    The Spruce / Emily Baker

Tips

  • In any drink that has only two ingredients, the quality of each matters. Begin with a good vodka, though it doesn't have to be your best. There are some impressive cheaper vodkas that are perfect for drinks like this.
  • Grapefruit juice makes up most of the drink, and it's best with freshly squeezed juice. The classic citrus juicer makes fast work of a few grapefruits, and it doesn't take up much space in the kitchen or bar. You should be able to get enough juice from a single grapefruit for one greyhound.
  • When choosing store-bought juice, look for a quality brand without pulp or added sugar.

Recipe Variations

  • Grapefruit is a tart fruit, and some juices—whether fresh or bottled—are sharper than others. Counteract the tang with a little sweetener, such as a dash of agave nectar, honey, or simple syrup.
  • Like in the firefly, grenadine sweetens the vodka-grapefruit combo and gives it a sunrise effect.
  • Cut back on the grapefruit and add cranberry juice to create the vodka sea breeze.
  • Pour an infused vodka, or add other fruit juices or flavored waters. Coconut, melon, pineapple, pomegranate, raspberry, and strawberry pair perfectly with the grapefruit.
  • Give the greyhound some sparkle with club soda. Sweeter clear sodas, such as lemon-lime and ginger ale, mellow the flavor, too.
  • Mix up an Italian greyhound by pouring 1 1/2 ounces of vodka and 1/2 ounce of Campari. The aperitif adds a hint of bitterness and transforms it into a great dinner drink. This version is really nice when sweetened with a dash of rosemary syrup, too.

Why Is It Called a Greyhound Drink?

The greyhound formula dates back to 1930. It appeared as a "variation of the grapefruit cocktail" in Harry Craddock's "The Savoy Cocktail Book." While the recipe he refers to used grapefruit jelly, his simplified version pairs gin with fresh grapefruit juice, sugar to taste, and plenty of ice. Vodka came into play in the 1940s, thanks to its growing popularity among American drinkers, as did the greyhound name. In 1945, the vodka drink appeared in Harper's Magazine, and by the '50s, it was a popular libation at the Post House restaurants found at Greyhound bus terminals. With word from the traveling public, the drink's popularity soared.

How Strong Is the Greyhound?

As with all highball drinks, you can make the greyhound as light or as strong as you desire. It all depends on how much juice you pour. Four ounces is pretty standard, and with 80-proof vodka or gin, the drink weighs in around 12 percent ABV (24 proof). It's what you can expect from the average glass of wine.

What Alcohol Is Good With Grapefruit Juice?

The distinct sweet-bitter taste of grapefruit is generally best paired with white spirits. The greyhound and salty dog prove that the citrus is great with vodka and gin. It's also an excellent match for tequila, as seen in the famous paloma, and white rum as found in the classic Nevada cocktail. For an interesting twist, try the grapefruit shandy with your favorite wheat beer.