Greyhound (Salty Dog) Cocktail: The Ultimate Guide

The Greyhound is a classic cocktail featuring gin or vodka (Vodka Greyhound) and fresh grapefruit juice, typically served in a lowball, highball or stemmed glass, and garnished with a grapefruit slice or wedge. It is known for its balanced tartness and can be salt-rimmed, becoming a Salty Dog. Ideal for various daytime and evening occasions, it pairs well with light fare.

Why is it Called a Greyhound?

The Greyhound cocktail earned its name from its popularity at the Post House restaurant chain located at Greyhound bus terminals, where it used to be frequently served to travelers looking for a refreshing drink. Although the recipe first appeared in 1930 in The Savoy Cocktail Book by Harry Craddock, its first documented appearance under the name “Greyhound” was in 1945 in Harper’s Magazine, which highlighted its availability at the Greyhound’s Post House.

The name “Salty Dog” is a playful nod to the nautical spirit of the salty rim that gives the cocktail a maritime flair, distinguishing it from the classic un-rimmed Greyhound.

Why the Popularity? Why Should You Try?

The Greyhound and Salty Dog cocktails are popular mainly due to their refreshing simplicity. They are a staple for those who appreciate the tang of grapefruit paired with the clean bite of gin or vodka (Vodka Greyhound). The perfect blend of sweet and bitter, with a versatility that allows for personalization, such as the salty rim (Salty Dog) or a dash of simple syrup for additional sweetness.

It is both easy to make and universally pleasing—light enough for daytime sipping yet sophisticated for evening affairs. Whether you’re a cocktail connoisseur or a casual drinker, the Greyhound offers a timeless taste experience that is as satisfying on the palate as it is easy on the eyes.


The Greyhound cocktail is a simple mix of gin or vodka and grapefruit juice, garnished with a fresh grapefruit slice or wedge. When vodka is used instead of gin, the cocktail is called a “Vodka Greyhound“, and when the glass is rimmed with salt, the “Greyhound” becomes a “Salty Dog“.

For a classic serve, you will typically need 1 and 1/2 ounces (approximately 45 ml) of gin or vodka and 3 ounces (around 90 ml) of grapefruit juice. Optionally, you can add a dash of simple syrup or other sweetener to balance out the tartness of the grapefruit.

  • Gin or vodka: 1.5 oz (45 ml)
  • Grapefruit Juice: 3 oz (90 ml), freshly squeezed
  • Garnish: Grapefruit slice or wedge
  • Optional: Salt for salty rim
  • Optional: Simple syrup to taste

Ingredient Substitutes

In the realm of cocktails, personal preference reigns supreme. If gin is not your spirit of choice, vodka offers a smooth substitute, transforming the drink into a Vodka Greyhound. For the grapefruit juice, orange or pomelo juice can provide a sweeter or more floral twist.

  • Gin Substitute: Vodka for a “Vodka Greyhound
  • Grapefruit Juice Substitute: Orange or pomelo juice

Ingredient Proportions

Balance is key in mixology; adjust the ratio to cater to your palate. A traditional Greyhound leans towards a 1:2 gin to grapefruit juice ratio. Feel free to tweak the proportions for a stronger or more citrus-forward beverage.

  • Traditional Ratio: 1 part gin to 2 parts grapefruit juice
  • Adjustable Ratio: Depending on personal taste

Best Ingredients

The magic of a Greyhound cocktail lies in its quality ingredients, because it only contains two of them. Opt for a gin with a botanical profile that complements the tartness of grapefruit. Similarly, choose fresh, ripe grapefruit juice for a balance of sweetness and acidity. If using vodka in the place of gin, choose a reliable brand, but it is not necessary to go top-shelf because the grapefruit flavors are quite overpowering.

  • Gin: Botanical and fresh
  • Vodka: Reliable brand
  • Grapefruit Juice: Freshly squeezed for optimal taste

Flavor Profile

The Greyhound cocktail is elegant and simple, boasting a bright and crisp flavor profile. The gin establishes a botanical foundation, while the grapefruit juice adds a zesty punch. If vodka is used instead of gin, it provides a clean slate for the grapefruit to shine. It is a refreshing and sophisticated drink with an approachable flavor that is both invigorating and satisfying.

  • Flavor profile: Crisp, bright, tart, bitter, citrusy and refreshing

Tools & Equipment

To concoct a Greyhound cocktail, you will need a jigger for precise measurements and a stirrer or spoon to blend the ingredients. A serving glass completes the set-up for crafting this classic drink.

  • Jigger: For measuring liquids
  • Stirrer/Spoon: To mix ingredients
  • Serving Glass: Typically a lowball glass (old-fashioned or rocks glass)

Instructions for Preparation

Creating a Greyhound is straightforward:

  1. Rim (optional): For a “Salty Dog” version, rim the glass with salt before adding any ingredients.
  2. Chill glass with ice: Fill a serving glass with ice.
  3. Measure and pour gin (or vodka): Using the jigger, measure and pour 1 and 1/2 ounces of gin (or vodka) over the ice.
  4. Add grapefruit juice: Top with 3 ounces of fresh grapefruit juice.
  5. Stir gently: Stir the mixture gently to combine the flavors.
  6. Add grapefruit garnish: Garnish with a slice of grapefruit.

Pro Tip: Pre-chill the glass before serving so it stays colder for longer.

Stir or Shake

The Greyhound, with its clarity and crispness, is typically stirred, not shaken. Stirring gently combines gin and grapefruit juice, maintaining a smooth texture while preserving the cocktail’s vibrant hue and delicate botanical notes.

  • Preparation Method: Stirring recommended
  • Reason: Preserves clarity and texture

Ice (chilling & dilution)

Ice is crucial for a Greyhound, serving to chill and slightly dilute the drink, enhancing drinkability. Use large cubes (or spheres) that melt slowly, chilling your cocktail without over-diluting the flavors that make the Greyhound so refreshing.

  • Ice Type: Large cubes or spheres
  • Purpose: Chills and moderately dilutes
  • Benefit: Maintains flavor integrity longer

Scaling (for a group)

Scaling a Greyhound for a group is all about maintaining the 1:2 ratio of gin to grapefruit juice. Multiply the ingredients by the number of guests, mix in a large pitcher, and serve in individual glasses over ice to keep the personal touch.

  • Batch Mixing: Use a pitcher
  • Proportion: Keep the 1:2 ratio consistent

Troubleshooting (biggest mistakes)

Common mistakes include over-diluting with too much ice or using juice that’s not fresh, which can mask the gin’s botanicals. Balance and quality are paramount; measure carefully, use fresh ingredients, and avoid over-stirring to prevent a watered-down Greyhound.

  • Mistake: Over-dilution or poor-quality juice
  • Fix: Use fresh ingredients, stir sparingly
  • Focus: Quality and balance of ingredients


The presentation of the cocktail is as sleek as its name implies. The drink’s allure lies in its simplicity and elegance, which should be reflected in its presentation—clear, bright, and decorated with just a hint of garnish.

  • Visual Appeal: Simple and elegant
  • Color: Bright and clear


A lowball glass (old-fashioned or rocks glass) is the primary choice for a Greyhound (Salty Dog) cocktail, providing a comfortable hold and a wide opening to fully appreciate the drink’s aroma.

A stemless wine glass provides a contemporary alternative. For those seeking an extra touch of sophistication, especially at an elegant brunch, a stemmed wine glass—or even a champagne flute—offers height and elegance. The stem also helps to keep the drink cold for a longer period of time.

A highball glass is another good option that showcases the drink’s color very well. However, if opting for a highball glass, consider increasing the ingredient quantities to create a fuller appearance.

  • Primary: Lowball glass
  • Elegant Alternative: Stemmed wine glass or champagne flute
  • Modern Twist: Stemless wine glass
  • Casual Option: Highball glass (with adjusted volume)


Elevate the cocktail with garnish that invites creativity while respecting its classic roots.

A traditional grapefruit slice or wedge remains the staple. To diversify the flavor profile and visual appeal, consider using lemon or lime in the form of a wheel, wedge, twist or even some grated zest; a cherry (fresh or candied) for a touch of sweetness and color; or an aromatic rosemary sprig for botanical notes and visual flair.

Crowning your Greyhound with a salty rim instantly transforms it into the equally beloved Salty Dog, offering a savory counterpoint to the cocktail’s crispness.

  • Classic Garnish: Grapefruit
  • Citrus Twist: Lemon or lime
  • Sweet Accent: Cherry
  • Herbaceous Aroma: Rosemary sprig
  • Savory Conversion: Salty rim for a Salty Dog

Variations & Riffs

The Greyhound cocktail, with its straightforward recipe, paves the way for a plethora of popular variations:

  • Vodka Greyhound: Simply swap gin for vodka for a smoother taste.
  • Salty Dog: Add a salt rim to either the gin or vodka version.
  • Paloma: Replace gin with tequila and add a splash of soda.
  • Sea Breeze: Includes cranberry juice along with grapefruit juice.
  • Bay Breeze: Swaps grapefruit for pineapple juice with the addition of cranberry.
  • Grapefruit Mimosa: Substitute champagne for gin, maintaining the grapefruit juice.

Looking for more easy drinks that you can make with only two ingredients? Here is a list of my favorite 2-ingredient cocktails.


Creating your own riff on the classic Greyhound allows for personal expression in mixology. Here’s how you can put a personal spin on it:

  • Choose Your Base: Start with gin or vodka, or be bold with tequila or bourbon. Try different brands and flavors
  • Select Your Citrus: Grapefruit juice is classic, but why not try blood orange or a mix of citrus juices?
  • Sweeten It Up: A dash of simple syrup or agave can balance the tartness.
  • Herbaceous Elements: Muddle in fresh herbs like basil, thyme or rosemary for an aromatic twist.
  • Spice Things Up: A rim of spiced salt or a slice of jalapeño can add a kick.
  • Top It Off: A splash of soda water or tonic can add a refreshing fizz.

Remember, the key to a successful riff is maintaining the balance between the spirit and the tartness of the citrus while adding elements that complement the original profile.

Serving Occasions

The Greyhound cocktail is a versatile choice that suits a variety of occasions:

  • Brunch: Its refreshing nature makes it a brunch favorite.
  • Summer Parties: Ideal for outdoor gatherings and poolside sipping.
  • Happy Hour: A light option perfect for unwinding after work.
  • Cocktail Nights: A simple yet sophisticated choice for cocktail enthusiasts.

Food Pairings

To complement a Greyhound, consider foods that match its bright and zesty profile:

  • Seafood: Particularly good with shellfish or a light shrimp cocktail.
  • Citrus-Infused Salads: Echoes the grapefruit’s tanginess.
  • Chicken: Grilled or in a citrus marinade to match the cocktail’s zest.
  • Cheeses: Pair with a goat cheese salad or a cheese board with a sharp cheddar.
  • Desserts: Lemon tarts or grapefruit sorbet for a sweet-tart finish.

The crispness of the drink cuts through richness, making it a superb palate cleanser between bites. This is also the reason why it makes the perfect choice for a brunch.

So go ahead, mix your own and remember to share your creation with us on social media!

Greyhound Salty Dog Cocktail

Greyhound Cocktail (Salty Dog)

Refreshing, crisp and bitter-tart Greyhound cocktail—a harmonious blend of gin or vodka and grapefruit juice, served with a grapefruit garnish, or transformed into a Salty Dog with a salted rim—ideal for brunches, summer or as a refreshing sundowner.
Total Time 5 minutes
Print Recipe Pin Recipe


  • 1 Measuring jigger
  • 1 Spoon or stirring stick
  • 1 Lowball glass (or other serving glass of choice)
  • 1 Citrus juicer (optional)


  • oz Vodka (or gin)
  • 3 oz Grapefruit juice (freshly squeezed)
  • 1 wedge Grapefruit (slice or wedge, for garnish)
  • 1 dash Simple syrup (optional, for sweetness)
  • 1 tbsp Salt for rim


  • Create a Salty Dog (Optional): If you are opting for a Salty Dog, before adding the ingredients, run a grapefruit wedge around the rim and dip the glass into salt.
  • Chill the Glass (Optional): Place your lowball glass in the freezer to get a nice chill on it (and help the salt stick better).
  • Prepare the Garnish: Cut a fresh slice of grapefruit ready to garnish.
  • Combine Ingredients: In the serving glass, pour gin or vodka over ice, followed by fresh grapefruit juice. For a sweeter twist, you may add a dash of simple syrup to taste.
  • Stir Gently: Mix the ingredients gently with a spoon or stirrer to combine the flavors without diluting the cocktail too much.
  • Garnish: Place the grapefruit slice on the rim of the glass or drop it into the drink.


Calories: 140kcalCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 1gFat: 0.1gSodium: 3mgPotassium: 140mgFiber: 0.1gSugar: 10gVitamin A: 17IUVitamin C: 23mgCalcium: 7mgIron: 0.4mg
Calories: 140kcal
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Cocktail
Keyword: grapefruit, greyhound, salty dog, vodka
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