If you are a fan of vodka, try this classic

Back in 2018 I featured two closely related cocktails that were poised for a comeback. I spent the last week on vacation in Key West and as always I was paying attention to bar service wherever I went.
The two closely related cocktails are the Greyhound and the Salty Dog, and I would say the comeback is complete judging by the sheer number of these cocktails that I encountered during my recent travels.
One interesting observation of bar service in the Florida Keys is that there are drinks that tourists order, and drinks that locals order. The tourists (myself included) ordered up the standard Mojito, Rum Runner, Pina Colada, and Margarita options. The majority of locals were drinking Salty Dogs. I also noticed a fair number of Salty Dogs served at airport bars in my recent travels.
What exactly is a Salty Dog? Simply put, it's a Greyhound with added salt. So, what exactly is a Greyhound?
As is the case with many prohibition-era cocktails, the origin of the Greyhound cocktail is unclear at best. What we know is that the recipe first appeared in Harry Craddock's famous Savoy Cocktail Book of 1930. This version of the Greyhound called for gin as most American cocktails of this era were made with gin.
To say that gin was widely available during this era would be an understatement, you could have literally made it in your bathtub. Plenty of folks did, apparently.
A recipe similar to Craddock's Greyhound appeared in Harper's magazine in 1945 and called for vodka in the grapefruit-based cocktail as opposed to gin. Harper's also noted that this particular version of the cocktail was served at “Post House”, the restaurant chain operating in Greyhound bus terminals.
Some say that the cocktail is named after the Greyhound bus line as it was served at their terminal restaurants. This is not likely as the Greyhound cocktail had been in circulation prior to Craddock's book and prior to the opening of Post House restaurants.
Either way, the availability of vodka spiked in the post-war US and gave the drink a new lease on life. It's not that everyone was tired of gin, but the market had been flooded with so many lower quality options that Americans took to tamer spirts that tended to mix well. In vodka consumers found a spirit that could be mixed with nearly anything drinkable.
So, vodka it is for the Greyhound. It follows the traditional Highball formula of spirit in a 12 oz. glass topped with a mixer. Simple and delicious. What about the Salty Dog?
The names Greyhound and the Salty Dog are used interchangeably, and the two drinks are identical minus one ingredient: salt. That's right, simply add salt to the rim to make the Salty Dog.
When salting the rim of the glass for this, and any other cocktail that calls for salt, use kosher salt. The larger irregular granules of kosher salt will adhere to the glass better and will not dissolve quickly as table salt does.
To properly salt a glass, first pour kosher salt onto a small plate. Then, wet the rim of the glass with a wedge of lemon, lime, or grapefruit. Then roll the side (not the top) of the rim in the salt. In addition to adhering to the glass better kosher salt also gives a better presentation.
Use your favorite vodka in the Greyhound, if you opt for gin use a “prohibition” style gin. What makes a prohibition style gin different from any other gin? The term “prohibition” when applied to gin simply means “classic” gin, i.e., Beefeater, Gordon's, or Tanqueray. Classic gin is made with the classic combination of botanicals, whereas newer gins can be infused with cucumber, exotic floral notes, or any other number of ingredients.
One of the most ideal serving situations for the Greyhound is alongside the undisputed queen of the morning cocktails, the Bloody Mary. Think about this: you are likely to have grapefruit for breakfast and vodka for the Bloody Mary on hand. Why not present the Greyhound as another option when the family meets for brunch at your place?
I prefer this cocktail as a Salty Dog simply because grapefruit juice is overly sweet. The salt is an effective means of overcoming the sweetness, as is adding a sprig of rosemary for garnish.
The classic Greyhound is built and served in a chilled 12 oz. Highball (or Collins) glass.
Fill chilled Highball glass with ice
Add 2 oz. vodka (or prohibition style gin)
Top the glass with fresh grapefruit juice
Garnish with any combination of lemon wheel, lime wheel, or sprig of rosemary
To make this cocktail a Salty Dog, simply add salt to the rim before making the drink.
Until next week, enjoy responsibly.