Recipe: Local Salty Dog

Passover starts this evening at sundown, Lent is coming to an end, and Easter is on Sunday. There will be Seders and Second Seders and brunches (oh my!). In short, it’s a weekend to hang with your nearest and dearest, enjoy their company and indulge a bit — or a lot. Whether you want a cocktail for one or for a crowd, for Seder or Easter brunch, the Salty Dog is the way to go. (And, how can you not love a cocktail called Salty Dog? Yes, I am smirking.)

Trying to please everyone? Give 'em a Salty Dog!
Trying to please everyone? Give ’em a Salty Dog!

For those of you unfamiliar with the Salty Dog, it’s the saltier brother of the Greyhound. Yup, just two simple ingredients: vodka and fresh grapefruit juice, served in a glass with a salted rim. Fresh ruby grapefruit, in season for a short time here in the Bay Area, is the key ingredient that makes this cocktail a standout.

I’ve never really been a grapefruit fan — it was too tart for me — until I tried the ruby grapefruit. I fell in love with this citrus delight last year when I was working on My-my-my-my Paloma! Something about the sweet, slightly tart flavor is craveable and refreshing, and lends itself nicely to easy-drinkin’ warm-weather cocktails.

The Salty Dog is a perfect spring cocktail: light, refreshing, and pretty, without being too girly. Not only is it easy to make, it’s easily adjusted for anyone’s taste — more booze, more juice, whatever you like. Another big win? It’s a good cocktail choice for most diets. Whether you’re keeping kosher or following a gluten-free diet, you can tweak the Salty Dog your way, just by choosing the right vodka. And, if you’re looking for an organic cocktail, then the Salty Dog is a no-brainer. With just two ingredients — grapefruit juice and vodka — it’s easy to choose organic, pesticide-free options for both.

Recipe: Local Salty Dog
Yield: 1 cocktail
When you’ve got only two ingredients, make ’em good. Choose fresh, local or California-grown grapefruit and the best vodka for your budget. There are good, organic vodkas for just about every dietary restriction. I’ve given some suggestions in the ingredients list below. Note that this recipe scales for one, two, or a crowd. To scale up, just multiply the ingredient amounts by the number of cocktails you want to make.

You’ll need a double old-fashioned or highball glass, shot glass with measurement markings or measuring spoons, a long-handled spoon, and ice.


4 oz freshly squeezed organic ruby grapefruit juice
2 – 2½ oz Tru Organic Vodka (Kosher: Square One Organic Vodka, Gluten-Free: Pairie or Rain Organic Vodka)

With only two ingredients, you'd better make 'em good. Choose fresh, organic, and flavorful.
With only two ingredients, choose fresh, organic, and flavorful.

For the glass:

Wedge of grapefruit
3-4  Tbs Kosher salt

Note that I’ve given the ingredients in ounces. If you’re using measuring spoons,
2 oz = 4 tablespoons, ½ oz = 1 tablespoon

How to:

  1. Salt the rim of the glass. Pour salt on to a saucer. Run a wedge of grapefruit around the rim of the glass, then turn the glass upside down and dip into the salt. (You’re trying to get the salt to adhere to the outer rim of the glass). Set aside.
  2. Optional Waste-less tip: Peel or zest the grapefruit before juicing.
    You can refrigerate the peel for a few days or freeze. Use later for garnishes, zest added to savory dishes, or adding flavor to jams and marmalades. Feeling motivated? You can also save the pith for making citrus pectin. peeled-grapefruit
  3. Juice the grapefruit.
    Recommendation: juice citrus into a small, fine-mesh sieve placed over a measuring cup. Doing so catches any pulp and seeds, while letting you juice exactly the amount you need.
  4. Pour the juice into the cocktail glass and add vodka.
  5. Add 2-3 cubes of ice and, using the long-handled spoon, stir until the glass feels chilled.
  6. Add several more cubes of ice to bring the liquid level near the top of the glass.
  7. Optional: Garnish with a twist of grapefruit peel.salty-dog-no-back

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