Morning Glory

A Salty Dog perks up brunch

If you find yourself at brunch on a sunny weekend morning, you might wonder if there’s a cocktail to complement the meal. And there is. It’s called the Salty Dog and it’s a favorite among diners at Sardine.

“It’s a very traditional cocktail, especially for brunch,” says maître d’ Tara Montemayor. “It’s refreshing in the summertime and spring, and it also give this citrus burst in winter when you need it.”

Only three ingredients—vodka, grapefruit juice and salt for the glass rim—are required. “It couldn’t be simpler,” says bartender Nate Brown. “And it takes all of 2.5 seconds to make.”

With such a streamlined cocktail, ingredients matter. Sardine bartenders fresh-squeeze grapefruit juice daily, an approach that extends to all their brunch libations. As a result, the Salty Dog is fresh and bright with the salt adding a nice dimension to the delicious tart-sweet grapefruit.

If the drink’s name conjures nautical images, you’re in a good spot sipping it at Sardine. While not perched oceanside, the bistro does overlook beautiful Lake Monona. See, we landlubbers don’t miss out on all the fun, at least not on a bright April morning.

RECIPE: Salty Dog

Salt the rim of a fourteen-ounce highball glass and shake off the excess. Add ice and three ounces of vodka, then fill the rest of the glass with fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice. Garnish with a slice of grapefruit. 

Recipe courtesy of Sardine, 617 Williamson St., 441-1600,

Katie Vaughn is associate editor of Madison Magazine.

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