The seemingly straightforward Greyhound cocktail has a fascinating origin story. It made its debut in Harry Craddock's 1930 Savoy Cocktail Book, where the renowned bartender and author presented it as a Grapefruit Cocktail variation. What's intriguing is that this implies the Greyhound and its kin were likely already enjoying popularity before Craddock penned his book. According to his recipe, the Greyhound is a minimalist mix of grapefruit, gin, and ice. A version with a similar lineup emerged in Harper's Magazine in 1945, featuring vodka, canned grapefruit juice, and sugar. Now, here's the twist: prior to 1945, vodka was a rare sight, and most classics that we now associate with vodka were initially crafted with gin.
During and shortly after the prohibition era, many cocktails featured sugared or salted rims to mitigate the unappealing qualities and tastes of alcoholic beverages. Around 1950, as vodka gained popularity in the US, the Greyhound cocktail began to shift from its traditional gin base to incorporating vodka. With travellers from all corners of the country frequenting these restaurants, the vodka variation quickly spread far and wide. Nowadays, both vodka and gin are commonly used to craft the Greyhound cocktail, allowing enthusiasts to choose their preferred base. The shift to vodka is seen as a strategy to cater to diverse taste preferences and a broader market.
Given the historical backdrop of the Greyhound cocktail, one might find oneself pondering its intriguing name. The recipe's initial appearance in Craddock's book set the stage. However, the term Greyhound cocktail gained prominence due to its association with Post House, a well-known restaurant chain situated at Greyhound bus terminals. As reported by Harper's Magazine, the cocktail earned its name because it became a crowd favourite among patrons frequenting the Greyhound bus terminals. The widespread adoption of the term in 1945 is a testament to the cocktail's popularity during that era, with many individuals opting for this refreshing drink at Greyhound locations across the country.
There are many iterations of this classic. For example, the Vodka Greyhound, which as the name suggests, swaps out the gin for vodka.
The Italian Greyhound is yet another delightful variation in the grapefruit-infused cocktail family. In this rendition, the classic gin remains in the background, making room for the dynamic duo of vodka and Campari. The result is a bittersweet twist on the original Greyhound, with the herbal notes of Campari adding a distinctive Italian flair.
There’s also Dalmatian, which takes it up a notch with black pepper syrup alongside the vodka. Some cocktails, such as the Mexican Paloma and Finland’s Lonkero, switch the grapefruit juice with grape soda. But when the drink is served with salt on the rim, it assumes the moniker of Salty Dog. This drink may also occasionally feature vodka instead of gin.
Fill a rocks glass with ice, then add the vodka or gin and the grapefruit juice and stir gently.
Garnish with a lime wheel.