Without alcohol, a virgin drink easily becomes just a glass of fruit juice. As someone who always looked forward to an after-work cocktail, fruit juice just doesn’t cut it. To make my mocktails taste more ‘adult,’ my go-to ingredients have been aromatic bitters and something unexpected.
And in the case of this salty dog variation, celery.
Celery is neither sweet nor bitter. With a mild acid content, it is subtly tart and just distinct enough to add flavor to a dish or drink. After creating a celery simple syrup, I combined it with the traditional salty dog components—grapefruit juice and a salted rim—and a few dashes of bitters to give it some bite.
The tartness of the grapefruit with the now-sweetened celery creates a refreshing balance, while the salted rim and bitters bumps it up a notch in terms of being cocktail-esque.
The Salty Dog
½ cup celery simple syrup*
1 ½ cup red grapefruit juice
8-10 dashes aromatic bitters
Salt, sea or margarita, for rim
Dip the rims of two highball glasses in celery simple syrup and coat in salt. Set aside.
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker, shake, and evenly divide into both glasses filled with crushed ice. Serve with a celery stalk.
Celery Simple Syrup
1 ½ cups celery, thinly sliced
¾ cup water
¼ cup sugar
Combine ingredients into a small saucepan. Simmer for 15 minutes. Using a fine sieve, strain the syrup and set aside to cool before using.
Easily turn this mocktail into a cocktail with the addition of vodka or gin.