The Salty Dog

Salty dog cocktail in a Collins glass

The Spruce Eats / S&C Design Studios 

Prep: 3 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 3 mins
Serving: 1 serving
Yield: 1 cocktail
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
177 Calories
0g Fat
11g Carbs
1g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 177
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 583mg 25%
Total Carbohydrate 11g 4%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 47mg 235%
Calcium 11mg 1%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 201mg 4%
*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.)

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, the greyhound's vodka is replaced with gin, and a salty rim is added. 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 with 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 sour, but the salt counteracts that wonderfully, and you can add a dash of simple syrup to bring in a little sweetness to balance it out. Choose white, pink, or ruby red grapefruit, and keep in mind that the darker the flesh, the sweeter it tastes. For the best salty dog, use fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice; one grapefruit should make one tall drink.


Click Play to See This Simple Salty Dog Cocktail Come Together

"It’s hard to deny the yumminess of this recipe. A mellow gin, ripe grapefruit juice, and a tinge of salt is three-piece perfection. A secret tip; flick a pinch of salt into the cocktail itself, not just the rim." —Sean Johnson

Salty dog cocktail in a Collins glass with a lime wedge
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • Coarse salt, for rimming

  • 2 ounces gin

  • 4 ounces grapefruit juice

  • Lemon wedge, or lime wedge, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for a salty dog cocktail gathered

    The Spruce Eats / S&C Design Studios 

  2. Rim a Collins glass with salt: Rub a lemon or lime wedge around the rim, then roll it in a shallow dish of coarse salt.

    Rimming the glass for a salty dog cocktail

    The Spruce Eats / S&C Design Studios 

  3. Fill the glass with ice and add the gin and juice. Stir well.

    Ingredients mixed together for salty dog cocktail

    The Spruce Eats / S&C Design Studios 

  4. Garnish with a lemon or lime wedge. Serve and enjoy.

    Salty dog cocktail with a lemon slice on a cutting board

    The Spruce Eats / S&C Design Studios


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

  • The 1:2 ratio of gin to grapefruit is ideal for a small pitcher.
  • For a larger punch, switch to a 1:3 mix so people don't unexpectedly become too intoxicated.
  • You can also finish this punch off with a little sparkle. A touch of ginger ale or club soda makes almost any punch a little more appealing.

Recipe Variations

  • The salty dog can quickly be enhanced with just a few drops of fruit bitters. You will be amazed at the subtle difference this can make.
  • While great on the rocks, the salty dog makes a nice, fruity martini. Start out with 1 1/2 ounces gin, 2 ounces of grapefruit juice, and a dash of simple syrup. Shake the drink with ice and strain into a salt-rimmed cocktail glass.
  • Add an herbal touch; rosemary, mint, and basil are all perfect pairings with grapefruit. If you have fresh herbs, muddle the leaves with a dash of simple syrup in the bottom of the rimmed glass before adding ice. Another approach is to combine the herbs and syrup into a flavored simple syrup.

How Strong Is the Salty Dog?

The salty dog is a casual drink because of the juice volume. With an 80-proof gin, the recipe weighs in at a mild 12 percent ABV (24 proof). This is comparable to a glass of wine and will be lighter with more juice or the addition of soda.