770 Fifth Avenue, Downtown San Diego
‘We have signs outside that say, ‘Home of the Salty Dog,’ so people think we’re claiming we invented the Salty Dog,” bartender Daniel Baker says with a laugh. “But I have to tell them that, no, I know we didn’t invent the Salty Dog — but that’s our signature drink here, so we’re the home of it.”
An endearing mutt of a highball cocktail that’s part Greyhound and part something else, the Salty Dog, Baker says, is both simple and sophisticated.
“Everyone wants to be a bartender,” Baker says. “So the Salty Dog is definitely a drink anyone can make at home. That’s the thing about it — it’s good, you get your vitamins, and it’s easy to make.... But a lot of places don’t serve it with fresh grapefruit.”
By most accounts, gin has been the collar put around the Salty Dog since it was invented sometime in the early 1950s (some say by the same guy credited with making the first Bloody Mary) but since it’s a versatile and forgiving drink, Baker says, the balance of its flavors are easily heeled by any of the clear liquors — tequila, rum, vodka, or gin.
“So, you’re getting a lot of the grapefruit and the alcohol also takes over a little of the grapefruit so it doesn’t taste like you’re drinking pure grapefruit juice,” he says. “You get a nice balance — the alcohol taking away the acid and the grapefruit taking away some of the burn of the alcohol. And the salt adds a little to getting your mouth watering — opens up your taste buds.”
HOW TO MAKE IT
- • 2 oz. vodka
- • 1 fresh grapefruit
- In a cocktail shaker, pour vodka and squeezed fresh grapefruit, shake with vigor, strain into a salt-rimmed pint glass filled with ice and — anchors aweigh!