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Easy Salty Dog Cocktail Recipe

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5 from 3 votes

The Salty Dog is a refreshing combination of grapefruit juice and gin with a salted rim. Perfect for summer, even if you can't get to the beach! If you like gin, try a French 75 next.

Colorful Salty Dogs in a highball glass in front of a teal background

Have you ever had a Salty Dog? Wait, let me back up – have you ever heard of a Salty Dog?

I get the sense this might be a drink that's more familiar to those of us on the coastline, but that in no way means those are the only people who get to enjoy it!

Salty Dog Cocktail Ingredients

It's a very simple cocktail with only three ingredients: gin, grapefruit juice, and salt. The star of the show is really the grapefruit, so make sure you use a good, juicy, fresh one.

I've seen people make a Salty Dog with vodka instead of gin as well, but my personal preference is gin.

A brightly colored sliced grapefruit half on a white cutting board

What kind of grapefruit juice should I use?

I highly recommend freshly squeezed grapefruit juice for cocktails – the flavor is just so much better than bottled juices. So if you're able to get your hands on a grapefruit or two, that's ideal.

If you can't, just make sure you use bottled grapefruit juice that is just 100% grapefruit juice and not a “grapefruit juice cocktail” “or “grapefruit juice drink”. That usually means additives like sugars or preservatives, so steer clear.

How to juice a grapefruit

Thankfully, you don't have to own a big fancy juicer to be able to juice a grapefruit.

  1. The first step is to roll the grapefruit on the counter with a little pressure from your palm to loosen up the juices.
  2. On a cutting board, use a large chef's knife to cut the grapefruit in half crosswise.
A grapefruit being juiced on an orange juicer

If you own a handheld juicer, place half the grapefruit flesh side down on top, pressing and turning to squeeze out all the juices. If you don't own one, don't fret!

Over a bowl, hold the grapefruit half in one hand and a fork in the other. While squeezing the grapefruit, twist the fork around in the inside flesh to help the juices come out.

Grapefruit juice in a clear OXO measuring cup

Depending on your grapefruit, you'll probably get around 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of juice out of it.

You need 6 ounces for two of these cocktails (which would be 3/4 cup), so it's best to grab two grapefruits from the store to make sure you have enough.

How to make a Salty Dog cocktail

Chilled highball glass having the rim coated in salt on a small white plate

Step 1: First of all, you want to make sure your glasses are chilled – you want them to be as cold as possible. Next, you'll moisten the rims of each glass and dip them in coarse salt (like margarita salt or kosher salt). I like to press the rims into the flesh of one of the grapefruit halves I just juiced!

Two highball glasses filled with ice with salted rims

Step 2: Fill each glass with ice cubes.

Clear alcohol being poured into a highball glass with a salted rim and filled with glass

Step 3: Pour half the gin into each glass.

Grapefruit juice being poured into a highball glass with a salted rim and filled with glass

Step 4: Pour half the grapefruit juice into each glass.

You can of course garnish it if you'd like – my personal preference is a little wedge of grapefruit, or a thin grapefruit slice slid against the inside of the glass. Adds flavor, and it's a neat presentation!

Should it be stirred or shaken?

I don't stir mine because I like the color gradient I get just by pouring the ingredients over each other. But if you wanted to, you could definitely give it a stir.

Or if you wanted to, you could also shake the gin and grapefruit together with ice in a cocktail shaker.

Is a Salty Dog sweet or savory?

One of the things I love about the Salty Dog is that it's not sweet, but it's also not sour. The grapefruit flavor is slightly sweet, slightly bitter, and slightly sour.

So combined with gin, you get more of a savory drink. Not savory like you're eating a piece of cheese or something, just… subtly savory. A sprig of rosemary garnish would feel right at home.

By the way, if you don't like the name Salty Dog, you can just call it “gin and juice” and sound hip (or whatever the kids call that these days).

Am I cool now? [taps mic] Is this thing on?

Salty Dog variations

I mean, you can, but then it's not a classic Salty Dog!

  • If you use orange juice instead of grapefruit juice, you're on your way to an Orange Blossom (would need to add vermouth).
  • If you use vodka instead of gin, and use cranberry juice instead of grapefruit juice, you have a Cape Cod/Cape Codder.
  • If you use vodka instead of gin, and then add cranberry juice to the grapefruit juice, then you have a Sea Breeze.
A colorful Salty Dog in a highball glass in front of a teal background

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Salty Dog Cocktail Recipe

5 from 3 votes
The Salty Dog is a refreshing combination of grapefruit juice and gin with a salted rim. Perfect for summer, even if you can't get at the beach!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 2 drinks


  • Coarse salt
  • Ice cubes
  • 4 ounces gin
  • 6 ounces fresh grapefruit juice, freshly squeezed and strained is best
  • Grapefruit wedges, to garnish


  • Chill two highball glasses and pour salt on a small plate or bowl.
    Coarse salt
  • Moisten the rims of the two chilled glasses (with grapefruit juice or water) and gently dip rims into salt to coat.
  • Fill glasses with ice cubes. Pour 2 ounces gin into each glass, and top each with 3 ounces grapefruit juice. Garnish with small grapefruit wedge and serve immediately. Enjoy!
    Ice cubes
    4 ounces (113 ⅖ g) gin
    6 ounces (170 g) fresh grapefruit juice
    Grapefruit wedges


  • Can also be stirred, or prepared shaken over ice – I prefer the pour-over method simply because it looks prettier.
  • If you would like it to be sweeter, you can add a little simple syrup.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 170kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 2mg | Potassium: 139mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 6IU | Vitamin C: 23mg | Calcium: 7mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition Disclaimer

The provided nutrition information is generated by an automatic API and does not take variations across specific brands into account. This information is provided as a general guideline and should not be treated as official calculations. Learn more here.

Recipe created by Leslie Kiszka

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Perfect for a summer day. No added sugar, the perfect amount of natural sweetness — a kiss of sunshine. This will be my go to outdoor drink!