Happiest Hour: Salty Dog 

Sure, it's Monday and you may still be recovering from yesterday's festivities in Butte. But we're looking ahead to the first day of spring by making this classic cocktail.

What it is: A throwback of a cocktail that’s easy to make and perfect to drink as spring weather arrives. All you need to do is rim a highball glass with kosher salt, add ice, pour two ounces of gin or vodka and top with about four or five ounces of fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice. Stir and enjoy.

Hold up, friend. Talk us through this a bit: Not much to discuss, which is why this old hound is a classic. It’s pure preference when choosing between gin and vodka. I wanted to mark the occasion of opening a first-batch bottle of Montgomery Distillery Quicksilver, so went vodka. As for the fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice, it’s a no-brainer. Score three for a buck or so and you’ll taste the sweet difference compared to bitter bottled options.

Old dog, new tricks: The Salty Dog’s been around so long, there are plenty of variations. Skip the salt and you have a Greyhound. Orlando Weekly, a fellow alternative newspaper that recently reminded us of this drink, also suggests the Peppery Dog: vodka, grapefruit juice and pepper syrup made of black peppercorns, water, sugar and lime juice. It reportedly provides a bit of a kick. Call me old fashioned, but I’d just as well stick with the straightforward original.

Happiest Hour celebrates western Montana watering holes. To recommend a bar, bartender or beverage for Happiest Hour, email editor@missoulanews.com.

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