Shrimp Cocktail with Vodka Sauce

My husband's favorite thing about going to cocktail parties is that they almost always include a shrimp cocktail appetizer.  A platter of giant, plump shrimp just waiting to be dunked into a powerful cocktail sauce. 

But why do we have to wait for an invite to a party to enjoy this fancy appetizer?  You don't need an excuse to have them. You can make Shrimp Cocktail at home and at anytime!

Since the Oscars are on this weekend, gives me the perfect excuse to make them again.  So I decided to re-post this recipe today.

Shrimp cocktail is simply poached shrimp, then served chilled with a spicy vodka cocktail sauce. That's it. Simply and super easy!  Plus, shrimp cocktail can be made in advance.  You don't even need to cook the shrimp yourself - but if you do, the taste is definitely better!

My husband prefers the large or extra large shrimps. Sometimes when we are pressed for time, we will purchase the smaller ones that are already cleaned and ready to go.  They cost a little more, but it can be worth it to save some time.  And since they are already peeled for you, they may only require a good rinse under cold water before you cook them.

Here, I purchased the larger ones to please my hubby.  I don't mind, since he offered to clean them for me. :)

I made an easy vodka sauce for my shrimp cocktail.  It's a simple blend of ketchup, vodka, horseradish, and seasonings with a touch of lemon juice.  We enjoy our cocktail sauce to have a bite to it.  You can play with the ingredients and make the vodka sauce as spicy or as mild to your preference.

Shrimp cocktail is usually served in one large platter with the sauce in the center or nearby.
Here, I decided to serve them in individual glasses, adding a dollop of vodka sauce in each glass and dressing each glass with slices of lime and some fresh chives as garnish.

Then I served them with a wedge of lemon on the side for those who like to squeeze extra lemon on their shrimp.  Nothing fancy, but when you dress them up in individual glasses, they always makes a huge hit! 

Shrimp cocktail is a wonderful appetizer to serve anytime of the year.  No fuss at all and a definite crowd-pleaser when served at dinner parties. They're even light enough to serve as the first course. Serve these beauties with some chilled sparkling wine or Italian Prosecco.

My husband loves his vodka sauce for dipping.  He is so sweet! And since he helps me in the kitchen, especially cleaning the shrimp- you just gotta love him.

Make it special next time, or find a reason to make shrimp cocktail for you and your loved one.
It's a classic.  Most of all, it makes an elegant presentation when you need one!

Have a great weekend, and enjoy the Oscars this Sunday!  Cheers!

Shrimp Cocktail with Vodka Sauce

  • 24 jumbo shrimp (about 2 pounds)
  • 5 cups boiling water
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 lemon- juiced
  • 3 limes - thinly sliced for garnish
  • fresh chive sprigs, for garnish
  • lemon wedges, for serving

Peel and devein the shrimp.  Leave the tails on, but discard the shells.
In a medium size pot filled with water, bring to a boil, and add the lemon juice and salt.

Slowly transfer the shrimp into the boiling water.  Turn off heat, cover and let stand for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until the shrimp are firm and pink.  Drain the shrimp. 

Add shrimp into a bowl of ice water filled with ice cubes to cool the shrimp for about 2 minutes.

Then drain the shrimp again, this time allowing to drain well.

Use 4-ounce serving glasses, or small martini glasses.  Fill each glass with 2 tablespoons or more with vodka-cocktail sauce (see below for recipe).

Arrange shrimp around the rim of each glass, alternating with lime slices and shrimp.

Garnish with 2 sprigs of chives in the center.  Transfer to a serving tray.
Refrigerate, and serve shrimp cocktail chilled on individual plates with a lemon wedge on the side.

Serves 6 - (with 4 shrimps per glass)

Vodka Cocktail Sauce:
  • 2 cups of ketchup
  • 2  to 3 Tbsp. Vodka, or more
  • 1 to 2 Tbsp. horseradish
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
Mix all the ingredients together.  Taste and adjust the heat by adding more horseradish to your liking.
Refrigerate the sauce until ready to serve.

Here's a kitchen tip:
If you are short for time and cannot make the vodka cocktail sauce, buy a jar of extra-hot cocktail sauce and mix equal parts with ketchup. Taste the sauce for its pungent, and add more or less to your preference.

Cocktail Sauce Adapted: by Grey Goose Vodka Recipe book

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  1. My son used to work in a seafood restaurant and we loved to go visit (bother) him and eat our weight in shrimp. These are absolutely beautiful! Love cocktail sauce too - this will be a perfect snack while watching the Oscars :) Have a wonderful weekend!

    1. Thanks Tricia! You too have a wonderful weekend! xxoo

  2. Your steamed shrimp look delicious, nothing better than steamed shrimp and cold beer! :-)

  3. I align with your husband's preference for the extra-large shrimp. But what intrigues me beyond the gorgeous presentation, is the measure of vodka in the cocktail sauce—it makes perfect sense! Pinning this for sure, and I thank you for the introduction and the lovely comment over at my place.

    1. Thanks for pinning this one Brook! It is a pleasure to meeting you as well!

  4. These are gorgeous! You can never have to many shrimp for shrimp cocktail. And for appetizers they are always the first to disappear. This is making me hungry!

  5. I love that you served these all fancy-like as if you WERE in a restaurant!

    1. Thank you Joanne, I am trying to jazz them up once in a while, otherwise they are always the same- right?

  6. What gorgeous shrimp. I have a son who would go crazy for these.

    1. Thank you Barbara! My son loves them too! Enjoy!

  7. Wonderful shrimp cocktails! I love eating them, just don't like cooking, shelling and deveining them :) It is worth the effort to have really tasty shrimp, though!

    1. So true Sue, thank you for the lovely comment. Have a great week!


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