The Lexingtonienne



I always think of shrimp cocktail as a very summery dish. Perhaps this is because one summer, way back in the 1900’s, our family vacation became an all-out shrimp fest.

shrimp raw

We were in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and my aunt Allison, who was a teenager at the time, came along with us.

beer boil

My mom discovered that the local Kroger sold really fresh shrimp which they would steam for you right there. She was very into this idea.

shrimp boilin'

Perhaps I should pause here to tell you that when my mom gets into something, she REALLY gets into it. Just ask Dove bars, Starbucks peppermint mochas, and the color gold. On this particular vacation, it was steamed shrimp. So every day for lunch, we had peel-and-eat shrimp cocktail. Every. Single. Day.


On the first day, it was awesome. On the second day, it was good. Several days in, it was, *sigh* again? By the end of that vacation, my sister, our aunt, and I would have traded our neon pink sunglasses and a Bobby Brown cassette tape for a peanut butter sandwich.

cocktail sauce

Here is a photo of Seester, Aunt Allison, and me from that vacation. You might notice it was also the summer that my mom convinced us to like the Charlotte Hornets because she was into their team colors — turquoise and purple.


This recipe for beer-boiled shrimp cocktail is super easy and really, really good. It might even inspire you to have a little summer shrimp-fest of your own. Neon pink sunglasses not included.

shrimp cocktail

This is a small batch since it was just Hubba Bubba and me, so depending on your crowd, you may want to double the recipe. You may even want to double it a few times.


  • 1 bottle beer (I used Fat Tire)
  • 12 oz water (just refill the beer bottle)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 Tbsp Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1/2 lb shrimp, preferably with shells on

In a heavy saucepan, bring beer, water, bay leaves, and seasoning to a boil. Add shrimp. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook until shrimp is pink and firm, about 2 minutes. Drain, then plunge shrimp into ice water to arrest the cooking process. Serve with cocktail sauce.


  • 1/4 C ketchup
  • 2 T chili sauce
  • 2 tsp horseradish (more if you like it spicier; less if you don’t)
  • a squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Stir all ingredients together.



  • Comment by Shae — July 28, 2011 @ 10:36 am

    I do not recall the force-feeding of shrimp cocktail – however, I do stand by the Dove bars, peppermint mocha’s, and metallic gold. 🙂

  • Comment by Hannilou — July 28, 2011 @ 11:00 am

    It was shrimp cocktail and corn on the cob. Allison remembers it! 🙂

  • Pingback by I’ve Got Sole But I’m Not a Soldier - The Lexingtonienne — July 29, 2011 @ 8:28 am

    […] Contessa says it, and my stepmother and I think it’s kind of hilarious.) We picked up some shrimp for boiling, some clams for steaming, and some sole for… well, […]

  • Comment by Jill — August 1, 2011 @ 8:12 am

    Hilarious! I had a Charlotte Hornets “starter jacket” around that age. It was purely b/c I liked the colors not b/c I had any interest in the team!

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