Salty Balls Cocktail Recipe

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Salty Balls Nutrition Facts





Alcohol %:14

Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 7, 2024


The Salty Balls cocktail is a modern creation, inspired by the salty and sweet flavor combination that has become increasingly popular in recent years. It's a favorite among those who enjoy a balance of flavors in their cocktails, with the saltiness enhancing the sweetness and vice versa.

  • Origin: Modern, unknown creator

  • Ideal for: Those who enjoy sweet and salty flavors

  • Served: On the rocks

  • Strength: Medium

How Salty Balls Tastes?

The Salty Balls cocktail is a delightful blend of sweet, salty, and slightly bitter flavors. The sweetness of the liqueur is perfectly balanced by the saltiness of the rim, while the bitterness of the grapefruit juice adds a refreshing twist.

Interesting facts about Salty Balls

  • The Salty Balls cocktail is often served in a salt-rimmed glass to enhance its unique flavor profile.
  • Despite its unusual name, the Salty Balls cocktail is a sophisticated and balanced drink.
  • The cocktail's name is a playful nod to its salty rim and the 'ball' of ice it's typically served over.


Grapefruit Juice

Grapefruit juice is the citrus backbone of the Salty Balls cocktail, providing a sweet yet tart kick. If you use more than 2oz, the drink could become overly acidic, overshadowing the other flavors. Less, and you might not balance the tequila's robustness. Without it, you'd miss the 'zing'! An alternative could be orange juice for a sweeter, less tart flavor.

Emma Rose


The heart and soul of our Salty Balls, 1.5oz of tequila gives just enough agave punch without knocking your taste buds out. Too much and you're diving into a boozy overload, too little and the drink becomes a timid shadow of its potential. Skip it, and you've got non-alcoholic grapefruit juice - not so 'ballsy'. You could swap for mezcal if you want a smokier twist.

Mary Mitkina

Agave Nectar

At 0.5oz, agave nectar gently sweetens the deal, rounding out the sharpness of grapefruit and salt. More and it'd be too syrupy, less and you might pucker up with every sip. Ditching it completely is an open invitation for a tart-tongue face. Honey could be a substitute for a different kind of sweetness.

Alex Green


The namesake's 'Salty', the salt rim is not just for kicks—it contrasts and accentuates the sweet and sour elements of the drink. Without it, the cocktail would be like a beach without the sea—missing its defining edge. No salt, no Salty Balls. Opt for Himalayan pink salt for an Instagram-worthy change that packs a mineral punch.

Emma Rose

Ice Ball

Why a ball? It's not just to look cool—it melts slower than cubes, keeping your drink chilled, not watered down. No ice ball means a fast-diluting drink, compromising the robust flavors. Switching to regular ice cubes is perfectly acceptable, just expect a quicker watering down of your Salty Balls.

Mary Mitkina

Recipe. How to make Salty Balls Drink

  1. Rim the glass with salt.
  2. Place the ice ball in the glass.
  3. Pour the tequila and grapefruit juice over the ice.
  4. Add the agave nectar.
  5. Stir gently to combine.
  6. Serve and enjoy.

Pro Tips

  • Use a high-quality tequila for the best flavor.
  • Freshly squeezed grapefruit juice will give a more vibrant taste.
  • Be careful not to over-salt the rim - it should enhance, not overpower the drink.

Perfect Pairings


  • Ceviche: The citrus notes of grapefruit pair beautifully with fresh, zesty ceviche.
  • Guacamole and Chips: The salted rim complements the creaminess of the guacamole.

Main Courses

  • Grilled Seafood: The acidity of the grapefruit juice cuts through the richness of grilled fish.
  • Tacos Al Pastor: The sweet and sour profile of the cocktail balances the spiciness of the tacos.


  • Salted Nuts: The salt on the nuts echoes the salted rim of the cocktail.
  • Charcuterie Board: The cocktail's bright flavors contrast nicely with the savory cured meats.


  • Citrus Sorbet: A light, fruity dessert to complement the freshness of the cocktail.
  • Dark Chocolate: The bitterness of dark chocolate offers a counterpoint to the cocktail's sweetness.

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What you could change in Salty Balls

  • Tequila can be substituted with vodka for a less distinct flavor.
  • Agave nectar can be replaced with simple syrup if it's not available.

Explore all drinks starting with S here

And of course - twists🍹

Smoky Salty Balls

  • Substitute tequila with mezcal.
  • Add a pinch of smoked sea salt to the agave nectar. This twist brings an alluring smokiness to the cocktail, pairing beautifully with the grapefruit's bitterness.

Sweet Heat Salty Balls

  • Rim the glass with a mix of salt and chili powder.
  • Add a splash of pineapple juice. A daring contrast of sweet, spicy, and salty, this variation offers a tropical kick that's perfect for those who like a little fire with their citrus.

Herbal Salty Balls

  • Muddle fresh basil leaves before adding the juices.
  • Use honey instead of agave nectar. An herbaceous twist, with a more complex, earthy sweetness provided by the honey and the fresh brightness of basil.

In case you forgot basics how to make Salty Balls

Insert the spoon into the glass until it touches the bottom. Keep the back of the spoon against the inside wall of the glass, and stir in a smooth, circular motion. The goal is to swirl the ice and ingredients together without churning or splashing.

Learn everything on how to stir

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Frequently Asked Questions on Salty Balls

What type of grapefruit is best to use for the Salty Balls cocktail?

Any variety of grapefruit works well, but ruby or pink grapefruit can add a bit of color and sweetness to the cocktail.

Can I make the Salty Balls cocktail without the salt rim?

Yes, but the salt rim is an essential part of the cocktail's flavor profile. Without it, the drink may lose its signature balance of sweet and salty.

Is there a non-alcoholic version of the Salty Balls cocktail?

To make a non-alcoholic Salty Balls, simply substitute the tequila with a non-alcoholic spirit or skip it altogether. The grapefruit juice and agave nectar will still make for a refreshing drink.

What type of glass is ideal for serving the Salty Balls cocktail?

A wide-mouthed glass like a rocks glass or an old-fashioned glass is best to accommodate the ice ball and provide a generous surface area for the salt rim.

How can I properly rim a glass with salt?

Rub the edge of the glass with a grapefruit wedge to make it sticky, then dip it into a shallow dish of salt. You can also rotate the glass in salt for a heavier coating.

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