Salty Dog Cocktail Recipe and Variations

Salty Dog cocktail

Annabelle Breakey/Getty Images

  • Total: 3 mins
  • Prep: 3 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: 1 drink (1 serving)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
193 Calories
0g Fat
10g Carbs
1g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1 drink (1 serving)
Amount per serving
Calories 193
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 301mg 13%
Total Carbohydrate 10g 4%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Protein 1g
Calcium 10mg 1%
*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, 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 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 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.


  • 2 ounces gin
  • 4 ounces of​ grapefruit juice
  • Salt for rimming

Steps to Make It

  1. Rim a chilled collins glass with salt.

  2. Fill the glass with ice and add the gin and juice.

  3. 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.

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

The average "up" cocktail (which includes martini drinks) is 3 to 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 of 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 you 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 gin 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.

  • If you have fresh herbs, muddle the fresh leaves in the bottom of the glass. Do this after rimming and before adding ice.

  • Try a dash of simple syrup so the herbs have a base to mix with. 

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 party 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 percent ABV (24 proof). This is comparable to a glass of wine.