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Salty Dog – Less of a Dog Than Expected

Posted by Reese on 2009-06-28 @ 09:32am

My week of Salty Dogs started when I mixed some up for my cousin Tara and I.  I followed the simple recipe I laid out at the beginning of the week, 2 oz vodka, 3 oz grapefruit juice.  The only grapefruit juice I had on hand was the kind in the tiny cans and I failed to rim the glasses with salt.  D’Oh.  As you can guess we were already well on our way to failure.  After a tentative couple of sips we both concluded that the drink was much too sour in its current form.  I added a touch of raspberry syrup and all was right in the world again.  But of the failings I mention above what was the key to making this drink tasty?

I picked up some grapefruit and decided I’d give the drink a go with fresh juice (always a good call).  However, much to my surprise, it seems I hadn’t read the label very well and came home with pink grapefruit.  Which, I found out on a second trip to the store, is all they have right now.  Nevertheless, I juiced them up and mixed up a cocktail, complete with salted rim this time.

Salty Dog

This time the drink was much more palatable than my first attempt.  The pink grapefruit juice is less sour than white grapefruit and quite a bit sweeter.  Be warned, this version goes down very easy.  The vodka is lost to the sweet/sour flavor of the pink grapefruit and before you realize it your glass is empty again.  The salt was a nice touch but really works much better with the sourer white grapefruit.  If you’re using pink go light on the salt and I’d suggest only rimming half the glass.  That way you only have to have salt if you want.

The same evening Aaron was over to finalize our Tales of the Cocktail plans and he chose to mix up the Difford’s recipe (below).  This recipe changes things up a bit by adding a touch of Maraschino to the mix.  This has two effects on the cocktail.  First, it will sweeten it up a bit, which could be needed if you’re going the white grapefruit route.  Second, it gives the drink a little more interesting flavor.  Like the Aviation you’re using the Maraschino very sparingly so it’s flavor is subtly applied.  Overall Aaron was very surprised and pleased.  He sums it up best: “[I] really thought it would be more like my college ‘whatever juice I can find and vodka drinks’.”  Well said my friend.

Salty Dog (Diffords Guide #7)
2 oz Vodka
2 1/4 oz Grapefruit Juice
1/8 oz Maraschino
Salt for Rimming

Finally I circled back to where I started the week and gave the canned white grapefruit juice a second go.  With this second attempt I came to a different conclusion.  The sourness of the grapefruit juice is actually quite refreshing.  But it does make you slow down your sipping.  The salt is a nice touch, but not entirely necessary in my opinion.  However, if you decide to leave it off know that you’re now drinking a Greyhound, amazing what a touch of salt can do.