Rosemary Sweet and Salty Dog Cocktail

January 21, 2018

This mixed drink gives a fun, earthy twist to the traditional salty dog cocktail. A simple syrup is infused with rosemary from the herb garden and combined with freshly squeezed red grapefruit juice and vodka. It’s served in a glass with a rim of fine ground sea salt. 

Rosemary Sweet and Salty Dog Cocktail Recipe |

It has come to my attention this week that there are quite a few people out there who do not like grapefruit. 

I suspect that much like those who do not like kale, they cannot be trusted. 

Just kidding. 

To be honest, I’m not quite sure when I turned the corner on the stuff. For years, it was a grandma and grandpa breakfast accompaniment.  Served alongside poached eggs and whole grain toast. 

For the record, I refuse to think that my love for the fruit correlates with getting older. Proof is in in the fact that I’ve loved grapefruit for at least 10 years now. 

I think it’s because I was introduced to red grapefruit. 


Mix up a Rosemary Sweet and Salty Dog Cocktail. It's the perfect drink recipe for winter. |

If you had white grapefruit once and then swore them off forever, well, red grapefruit is actually sweet. I would say that the Texas red grapefruit as the sweetest, but I got these from a tree in our neighbor’s backyard and California is giving Texas a run for its money when it comes to grapefruits and sweetness. 

Like any other fruit, their sweetness can vary by year due to weather and growing conditions as well. 

So I guess what I’m saying is, I love grapefruit. I realize I probably won’t win you over. I definitely haven’t had any success with that when it comes to kale. But maybe I can tempt you with a cocktail.

One of my favorite things to blend with grapefruit is rosemary. There is something about the earthiness that goes so well with the sweetness and slight bitter tartness. I once made rosemary grapefruit cookies for a client project, but this time I’m using it in a cocktail. 

A twist on the Salty Dog Cocktail. This drink uses rosemary infused raw sugar simple syrup and combines with red grapefruit juice and vodka. | Find it at

Plan a little bit ahead because this drink uses a simple syrup that is infused with rosemary. With raw sugar as the base, it’s complex taste works perfectly with the savory rosemary. 

I love Salty Dogs which are a blend of grapefruit, vodka or gin, and a salted rim. So I decided to do a sweet and salty dog with the syrup. That being said the cocktail is not overly sweet. You probably know by now that sweet is not a quality I like in my drinks. 

The syrup makes about 2 ounces and I use 1 in the drink for two servings. But if you want a sweeter drink, feel free to add the extra ounce of syrup. Otherwise, save it for round two. I feel confident there will be one once you try this. 

I steer clear of kosher salt. I know it is all the rage, but as I wrote in my cookbook, I find the flavor far too harsh. I prefer sea salt and a fine ground version is what I use to rim my glasses. 

It makes each sip a perfect balance of sweet, salty, earthy, and fruity. There is a lot going on, but it all works so well together. Cheers!

Rosemary Sweet and Salty Dog Cocktail Recipe at



Rosemary Sweet and Salty Dog Cocktail

Makes 2 drinks


What you’ll need: 

1/4 cup raw sugar
1/4 cup water
1, 4-to-5-inch sprig fresh rosemary
4 ounces vodka
6 ounces red grapefruit juice (1 to 2 grapefruits depending on size)
Fine ground sea salt for rimming the glasses
Crushed ice
Grapefruit slices and rosemary sprigs for garnish


How to make it:

Stir together the sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Raise the heat to medium and bring to a low boil. Let cook undisturbed for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the leaves from the sprig of rosemary. Set aside to cool completely. Strain the syrup into a measuring cup. Discard the rosemary. You should have about 2 ounces of syrup. 

Add 1 ounce of the syrup to a cocktail shaker. (Add it all if you prefer a sweet drink.) Pour in the vodka and grapefruit juice. Add a little ice and shake until chilled. 

Dampen the edge of two cocktail glasses with water or the wedge of a grapefruit. Rim each glass with sea salt. Fill the glasses with crushed ice. 

Strain the cocktail into each glass. Garnish with a grapefruit slice and sprig of rosemary and serve. 




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