Purple is this year’s most fashionable cocktail colour. At least according to gin makers Tanqueray who offered to send us a bottle of their export strength gin if we made and published one of their purple cocktail recipes.
But Tanqueray Export Strength gin is the perfect booze for our latest cocktail corner recipe, The Greyhound, so we took the goods and made that instead. And it’s not even purple.*
The Greyhound Cocktail
The Greyhound needs only two ingredients, gin and grapefruit juice, with the first mention of these two drinks appearing in The Savoy Cocktail Book from the 1930s. Back then, the recommended fruit was grapefruit jelly, with juice coming off the subs bench for one of its first revisions.
Another revision that kicked in later was to switch gin for vodka, with the latter increasingly becoming the norm in cocktails of the 1960s. This was down to vodka’s post-war marketing as manufacturers looked to boost the drink’s popularity. Lots of classic gin based cocktails were given a vodka make-over with glamorous celebrities promoting their sophistication, and for plenty of drinks the trick worked. Order a greyhound now and the chances are your bartender will automatically reach for the vodka. However, we’re keen on reversing that trend and recommend the use of gin.
So how did it get its canine name? My google spies tell me that would be down to the serving of a grapefruit cocktail recorded in a 1945 edition of Harper’s magazine that was served at Greyhound bus terminus restaurant.
How to make a Greyhound cocktail
Difficulty level: Easy
What you’ll need:
3 parts grapefruit juice
1 part gin
A slice of something to garnish
Seeing as there are only two main ingredients in this drink, both had better be good. We’ll start with the grapefruit and fresh is best. Not from concentrate, not grapefruit jelly and not pink. Golden grapefruit juice please, as freshly squeezed as you can get it.
For the booze a punchy, London Dry gin works best. Grapefruit is a strong flavour, both sweet and sharp, which can overpower subtler gins, so finding one that leans on the stronger juniper flavours is advised. Tanqueray’s Export Strength is an ideal choice. It contains only four botanicals – juniper, coriander seeds, angelica root and licorice root – and has a traditional gin purity to it that works especially well in citrus-laden cocktails.
To make simply drop some ice into an old fashioned glass or tumbler, fill three quarters full with grapefruit juice (or a little higher if you’re concerned about the strength of your booze) and top up with gin. If you’re one for a garnish then add a slice of lemon, lime or grapefruit. Give it a stir, then drink.
The Greyhound is one of many drinks that has been treated to the salt-on-rim trick. If this appeals to you then you’ll have to stop called it a greyhound and start using ‘salty dog’ instead.
Home grown customisation
The simplicity of this drink means a single extra ingredient can provide a noticeable twist to the original. Adding a pungent herb, such as rosemary or basil, to the glass works particularly well, or if you’re out on a spring foraging mission a few spruce tips are worth experimenting with.
*The purple recipe they sent was for ‘A Berry Nice T&T’, served with berry infused purple ice cubes. And very nice it looks too. If you want to have a go at making it yourself you can find the recipe here.