The Wednesday Tipple – Salty Dogs, Fleet Week and Other Nautical Musings

Salty Dog cocktail for recipe illustration

It’s fleet week here in NYC, which means that enormous ships are floating along side Manhattan like pods on a space ship, and bars up and down the west side are filled with men in uniforms and the gals and guys who love a man in a uniform, all having a fabulous time.

Seeing sailors riding the subway, taking photographs of each other outside a hot dog truck and asking for directions to the Empire State Building when they’re on 34th and Broadway has put clearly people in a nautical frame of mind. Twice now in the last three days, I’ve shown up to meet a friend and discovered that we’re both wearing blue stripey dresses, red belts, and, I kid you not, anchor earrings.

For my friend Bob the costume guy, Fleet week brings back memories. “I was a sailor in the draft. I chose it because the outfits were so darn cute,” he says, “but I have this medical condition where I sleep walk, and the last thing anyone wanted was a sleepwalking ex-tap dancer on a boat in the South China Sea, so I was honorably discharged. Oh Honey, that’s pretty much the only honorable thing about me.”

Salty Dog (per glass)

¼ cup Maldon salt crystals (or other mild salt)
1 measure vodka
1 measure fresh grapefruit juice
  • Tip the salt onto a plate, and wipe the rim of the glass on the cut grapefruit to moisten
  • Twirl the rim in the salt to coat
  • Shake the vodka and grapefruit juice over ice and pour carefully into the glass

If You Want To Fancy It Up A Bit

  • Add soda to make this a longer drink
  • Garnish with a twist of grapefruit – use a vegetable peeler, and squeeze the peel into the drink before dropping it in to release the essential oils
  • Make grapefruit ice cubes by dropping grapefruit into an ice cube tray topping up with water and freezing
  • Add a sprig on mint and a tsp of sugar or sugar syrup to the shaker, add the vodka and grapefruit and shake to muddle in a sweet mint flavor
  • Make a pitcher of Salty Dogs for a crowd, prepare the salt rimmed glasses in advance, then fill with crushed ice and pour in the drink – you get a slightly weaker drink, but the crushed ice is lovely and refreshing, and it’s easier to make than shaking individually
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