Simple Salty Dog Cocktail Recipe

If you love cocktails made with refreshing grapefruit juice, then you’re going to enjoy this salty dog cocktail.

You can use either vodka or gin for this recipe and a little salt on the rim. If you leave the salt out, then you’ve essentially made a greyhound cocktail – it’s pretty good with and without the salt.

salty dog cocktail side view

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Ingredients for this salty dog cocktail

For this recipe, I used:

  • vodka: although I used a premium vodka here, you can also substitute for high quality gin. Both spirits work really well with the tart grapefruit flavor. You can also play around with citrus flavored vodka as well.
  • grapefruit juice: I’m lucky enough to have my own grapefruit tree, so I made this cocktail with freshly squeezed juice. It’s refreshing, tart and is straight from the tree so there are no preservatives. Store-bought pink grapefruit or ruby red grapefruit juice are great substitutes for the fresh juice.
  • simple syrup: if the store-bought grapefruit juice is sweet enough, you won’t need any extra sweetness in your drink. But, in my case, a little syrup took this drink over the top. Follow my simple syrup recipe to make your own.
  • salt: regular table salt, Himalayan pink salt, or citrus salt are great for this drink. Here, I tried citrus salt and it was such a hit.
  • ice

Equipment for this recipe

No special equipment is needed here but a bartender kit is always a fun addition for your kitchen especially around the holidays or for any special event. I have this bartender kit by Aozita and I’m always pulling it out when entertaining.

How to make a salty dog cocktail

To make a salty dog cocktail without syrup, use 1 part vodka (or gin) to 2 parts grapefruit juice. Scale up this recipe to make lots of cocktails for your friends. With syrup though, you’ll want to use 8 parts vodka (or gin) to 16 parts grapefruit juice and 1 part simple syrup.

Step 1: Prep any garnishes you’d like to use when serving the cocktail. I used a grapefruit wedge here but you can use twists with the peel and even lime slices.

Step 2: If you are planning to use simple syrup, make it beforehand. To do this, add equal parts sugar and water (about 1/2 cup each) to a saucepan on medium heat. Stir to dissolve all the sugar and allow to simmer for 5 minutes until thickened. Remove from the heat, cool and set aside until you are ready to make the drink.

Step 3: Wash, cut and squeeze the fruit for grapefruit juice.

Step 4: Dip the top of your glass in the grapefruit juice. Spread the salt on a small plate and roll the glass rim on the salt.

add salt to rim

Step 5: Mix together ice, vodka or gin, grapefruit juice and simple syrup.

pouring grapefruit juice for salty dog

Step 6: Strain and serve cold in your prepped glass. Garnish if desired.

salty dog cocktail with garnish

Salty dog cocktail recipe

Simple Salty Dog Cocktail

Salty dog is a refreshingly, tart and citrusy cocktail made with just four ingredients – vodka or gin, grapefruit juice, simple syrup and salt for the rim!
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time0 minutes
Total Time5 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: salty dog cocktail
Servings: 1
Calories: 190kcal
Author: Ros Singh


  • 2 oz vodka (or gin)
  • 4 oz grapefruit juice (fresh or store-bought)
  • 1/4 oz simple syrup (optional)
  • citrus salt (to coat the rim)
  • ice


  • Prepare your desired garnish like grapefruit wedges and twists.
  • Make simple syrup (see separate recipe).
  • Wash, cut and squeeze the grapefruit. Strain the juice.
  • Spread salt onto a small plate.
  • Dip the rim of the serving glass in the juice.
  • Roll the top of the glass in the salt.
  • Mix vodka, grapefruit juice, and simple syrup together.
  • Strain.
  • Pour into prepped glass with salt.
  • Serve immediately with garnish.

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