A mashup of a bloody mary cocktail and the classic shrimp appetizer with all the garnishes ~ perfect for entertaining!
My bloody mary shrimp cocktail combines that famously reviving brunch cocktail with big juicy shrimp for an appetizer that’s clever, yes, but more importantly ~ absolutely delicious!
bloody mary shrimp cocktail
Who doesn’t love a bloody mary? They’re delicious, and they’re supposed to have the power to cure a hangover, so basically they’re medicinal, right?
We’ve combined the zesty cocktail with everybody’s favorite retro appetizer, the shrimp cocktail. It’s a perfect match, as many of the flavors overlap. The bloody mary shrimp cocktail can be dressed up or down to fit any occasion…try it out on your friends!
the bloody mary shrimp cocktail? it’s a shrimp cocktail…with benefits!
Shrimp cocktails are a healthy appetizer ~ they’re low fat, low calorie, and high in protein. They had a moment in the 1960s-80s, and they really deserve a comeback.
Using already cooked shrimp makes this ‘fancy’ appetizer a snap to make.
The vodka in the sauce is optional! It’s a fun nod to the cocktail, but not essential, as vodka is basically flavorless.
the bloody mary shrimp cocktail cocktail sauce ~ what’s in it?
This is what it’s all about, the sauce is half the reason we love shrimp cocktail. Turns out a classic shrimp cocktail sauce and a bloody mary cocktail have a lot of flavors in common! This one is zippy, zesty, and basically a celebration of acidity.
- a bottle of Heinz chili sauce
- prepared horseradish, store-bought or homemade. Be liberal, this makes the sauce sing.
- fresh lemon juice
- Tabasco hot sauce
- Worcestershire sauce
- celery salt
- smoked paprika
- freshly ground black pepper
- and yes, vodka! Vodka won’t add flavor to the sauce, just a little spike of alcohol, so feel free to leave it out.
the details matter
It’s the little details that take a classic shrimp cocktail into bloody mary territory. Like rimming the bowl with celery salt. Perfect.
and don’t forget to garnish your bloody mary shrimp cocktail!
What’s a bloody mary without the fun garnishes? I’m using traditional inner ribs of celery and toothpicks threaded with stuffed olives, little cocktail onions, and peppers. A lime wedge and sprig of parsley finishes it off.
5-6″ toothpicks work perfectly here, and I try to keep them on hand because they’re useful for lots of things. You can find them here.
make ahead tips for shrimp cocktails
- The sauce can be made up to a few days in advance. Keep it tightly covered in the fridge.
- You can prep your garnishes up to a day ahead. Refrigerate, covered with a wet paper towel and plastic wrap so they don’t dry out.
- The shrimp should be fresh, no more than a day old, so plan to buy them shortly before serving. Keep them cold at all times.
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- Pink Pineapple Shrimp Skewers (with huli huli sauce)
- Lemon Garlic Shrimp with Orzo
- Creamy Shrimp Bisque
- New England Shrimp Rolls
- Low Country Shrimp Boil
Bloody Mary Shrimp Cocktail
- 6 small shallow bowls or glasses
- 30 cooked shrimp. I used plump 16/20 shrimp
bloody mary cocktail sauce
- 12 ounce bottle Heinz chili sauce
- 3-4 Tbsp prepared horseradish, we love the flavor punch from horseradish, so I add extra., Make your own, here!
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp Tabasco sauce, or more to taste, of course!
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 tsp celery salt
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
- 1 ounce vodka, totally optional, just for fun.
- celery salt for rimming the glasses
- 6 small inner stalks of celery, with leaves
- springs of parsley
- lime wedges
- pimiento stuffed green olives
- small cocktail onions
- cornichon pickles
- marinated hot chili peppers
- Whisk together the sauce ingredients and be sure to give it a taste to adjust it to your liking. Chill until cold.
- Put some celery salt on a small plate. Run the cut side of a lemon or lime along the rim of each small bowl or glass to moisten, and then dip into the salt to rim the edges.
- To assemble the shrimp cocktails divide the chilled sauce between the 6 bowls. Arrange the shrimp over the edge of the bowls, allowing 5 shrimp per serving.
- Make cocktail picks by threading toothpicks with olives, onions, cornichon pickles, and small pickled peppers. You can allow one or two per serving.
- Garnish each cocktail with a stalk of celery, a sprig of parsley, a cocktail pick or two, and a lime wedge.
- Serve these shrimp cocktails right away, you want the shrimp to be ice cold.
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