How to make the Salty Dog highball: Vodka, grapefruit, lime, salt

The Salty Dog. Even the name sounds like it means something.

There are two things I like about the Salty Dog before I even drink one. First, there’s the name. It sounds like a man’s drink, like a pirate’s drink (ninjas wouldn’t drink Salty Dogs). I feel like I should order one in my best pirate slang.

Then there’s the salted rim. I have mentioned before that I have a cocktail fetish for prepared glass rims, so I’m interested whenever I find one.

Last time, I wrote about the Greyhound. Coming on the heels of both the Cape Codder and the Sea Breeze, the Greyhound was too tart. It needed something to cut the grapefruit juice, and the vodka just didn’t do it.

The Salty Dog manages to do just that. It cuts the grapefruit flavor using a surprising ingredient: salt. The Salty Dog is a Greyhound with a salted rim. That’s it.

How to make a Salty Dog

So first, you prepare the rim: cut a lime slice, run it around the outside edge of the glass, then dip it into a plate of kosher salt. Fill the highball glass with ice. Then pour in

  • 1.5 oz. vodka
  • 4 oz. grapefruit juice
  • lime wedge, for garnish

Stir it well, and you have a balanced drink. There’s something about the salt that does the trick, and I guess it because of what it means to have taste balance. If there are five flavors–sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and umami–then the salted rims adds a new dimension. The Greyhound has only two of the flavors predominant–sweet and sour. Yes, there is some sweetness in grapefruit juice. But the Salty Dog adds the new texture and taste of salt.

It puts the Salty Dog way above the Greyhound. The verdict: skip the Greyhound and go for a Salty Dog.

Now if I can figure out how to get some chicken broth in there…

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