The Greyhound cocktail is about as classic and simple as they come. You’ve got your grapefruit juice, and you’ve got your vodka.
So what’s the big deal?
Well, friends, it turns out there’s a lot more to know about this drink than its two ingredients. Below is the fascinating history of this beverage and how to make a delicious Greyhound for yourself and your friends.
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History of the Greyhound Drink
The Greyhound had to go through a lot to become what it is today. The circumstances leading to its creation touch many different corners of the globe and involve the very creation of a new fruit.
Let’s start with that last point. The grapefruit did not exist before the 17th century, a fact that comes as a surprise until you consider all the biological changes that happened after Columbus’ voyage across the Atlantic. (Fun fact: there were no earthworms in North America until Columbus.)
The fruit is a natural hybrid that occurred when traders in the West Indies introduced Jamaican sweet orange plants to an Indonesian pomelo plant. The crossing of these plants yielded the first grapefruit. The process most likely happened naturally as the result of two plants cross-pollinating.
No one quite knew what to make of the new type of fruit — was it an orange? A shaddock? A pomelo? No, it was its own fruit entirely. By 1750, Welshman Griffith Hughes had documented the strange fruit in his book The Natural History of Barbados, giving it an official page in pomological history.
In 1823, the grapefruit made its way to the United States, ferried in by one Count Odet Philippe. This resulted in numerous other crosses and several grapefruit-specific plantations across the country.
Now we get to the muddy area — when was the actual drink invented?
Cocktail Timeline: UK vs. USA
Let’s start with what we know: The first documented description of this recipe was in 1930 in a cocktail book printed by London hotel The Savoy. A celebrity English bartender named Harry Craddock was behind it, and he is generally credited with inventing this delightful concoction.
Craddock had moved to America three decades earlier to bartend at famous spots around the country. However, when America began its 13-year experiment with forced sobriety in 1920, he returned home. In London, he found employment at The Savoy, which featured an American bar — ironic since bars were nonexistent (officially speaking, of course) across the pond.
In today’s world, vodka is the spirit of choice for the Greyhound. This was not always so. Back when Craddock coined the drink, gin was the go-to liquor — vodka didn’t really gain popularity until after the Second World War. But since vodka is a relatively flavorless spirit, it serves as a great addition to the sour bitterness of grapefruit juice.
This brings us to the unknowable question: Did Craddock really invent this drink?
It’s possible. The most likely answer is that many people concocted this drink before Craddock — after all, the bittersweetness of grapefruit juice practically begs to be put in a cocktail.
Greyhound Cocktail Recipe
Did someone say cocktail?
The Greyhound is one of the simplest, most refreshing cocktails out there. It’s tart, crisp, and light — perfect for a hot summer night. Featuring pure ingredients and low calories, it’s also quick and easy for those occasions when you need to whip something together quickly.
- Prep Time 2 Minutes
- Cook Time 2 Minutes
- Total Time 4 Minutes
- Serves 1 People
- Calories 176 kcal
- 2 fl. oz. vodka or gin
- 4 fl. oz. fresh grapefruit juice
- Lemon, lime, or grapefruit wedge for garnish
- 1 collins glass filled with large-cubed ice
- Fill a collins glass with ice cubes — the larger, the better.
- Pour in the vodka and grapefruit juice.
- Stir the mixture well to ensure it mixes evenly with the ice cubes.
- Garnish with your fruit wedge and serve immediately.