The Greyhound and Salty Dog are two interesting highballs, featuring a spirit and grapefruit juice.
With either a Salty Dog or Greyhound, you rarely see someone ordering it and even more rarely does it appear in a menu; yet bartenders are expected to know what this drink is, and that is quite possibly because in terms of ingredients, it is a rather simple and quaint long drink. Both of these drinks have appeared rarely within popular culture, and honestly, both make me miss the good old days of the internet (Kingdom of Loathing anyone?), and remind me of the way in which certain drinks and objects get sort of a following and cult, quite often in terms of the media.
Appearance and representation for any sort of cultural object, any sort of phenomenon, places a sort of importance upon the object and allows it to take on qualities outside of the specific and immediate expectations from the actual components of the artifact, outside of the ingredients put into the glass. For most drinks, potions which are short lived, the awareness of status is one thing that comes into play when choosing what to imbibe during these moments of conspicuous leisure. The Martini is quite easily the most common appearing drink in the public imagination, with the iconic glass ascribed the same name as the libation. And in the United States, these cultural presentations, through advertising and the like, help inform the consciousness of most consumers, situating their preference structures in ideas gathered from media representations and the rhetorics and images of the media, structures which are positioned over what is in “good or bad” taste specifically along the axis of “fashionable.”
So removing ourselves from the axis fashionable and then juxtapositioning ourselves as imbibers of a Salty Dog or Greyhound because we want a simple yet high quality drink, it is quite likely that these drinks are related considering the ingredients each has as the principal components: looking at the drinks, from a cocktail taxonomic representation based upon similarities in styles, it makes quite a bit of sense to lop the drinks in with other highballs such as the Screwdriver, as Gary Regan does. However, I’m not so sure to what degree these drinks are related or when they first appear, since as usual, there is contradictory information, and unfortunately objects which are not blazing successes are oftentimes ignored in terms of writing a history around them.
If you glance around online, lots of people are suggesting that the Greyhound is a gin based drink from the prohibition. This is highly unlikely in many respects, with some of the first appearances of the Salty Dog being in the late 50s early 60s. And the style of drink makes quite a bit more sense in that context, especially seeing as how grapefruit as a commodity was becoming more and more common during this period with the greater amount of shipping and refrigeration available.
Strangely, looking at Difford’s Guide to Cocktails, you can see the Salty Dog listed as a short drink, shaken and served up. In order to sweeten the drink ever so slightly, they use a touch of maraschino liqueur which actually is somewhat a stroke of genius for people who appreciate the flavor of grapefruit juice, but not the tartness. Obviously, there are differences in the taste and flavors of each type of grapefruit, and so when using grapefruit juice, you can go either exceedingly sharp, bitter and sour (by not filtering out any the pulp on a drier grapefruit), or sweeter and more round (with a ruby red grapefruit for instance). And if you want a touch more complexity, throw in a tad bit of Aperol, which already works well with grapefruit juice, but brings out a bit of interesting finish to the drink.
A stronger pour of gin works well in this drink, and more dry gins work well, such as Beefeater. When using vodka, personally I prefer a vodka that is not as filtered or retains a bit of its’ unique backbone, but of course this is personal preference, and if choosing to use vodka, there are obvious desires or preferences to just taste principally the grapefruit juice.
2 ounce vodka or gin
4 ounces grapefruit juice
For a traditional Salty Dog, rim a Collins glass with salt. Pour the mixture over ice into a Collins glass and give it a quick stir. Optionally garnish with a slice of orange.
Modified Salty Dog (modified from Difford’s Guide):
2 ounce vodka or gin
3/4 ounce grapefruit juice
1/4 ounce maraschino liqueur
Rim a cocktail glass with salt. Combine the ingredients and shaketo chill, straining into the cocktail glass.