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  • Writer's pictureLulu Perez

Shrimp Cocktail (Build your Own)

Lets talk about shrimp cocktail... I always crave it in the summer when its hot out because shrimp cocktail is CHILLED and refreshing to eat. My mom would make it for us a lot during Lent season, since we couldn't eat meat on specific days. The way she makes this is just the best way to make it, in my opinion. And, she starts from the source. We are using fresh shrimp, boiling it, and straining it to separate the broth from the shrimp. Then, we peel the shrimp.

As you can see, this is already a labor of love. Making your own broth as the base for this cocktail is the way to do it. After that, you make the red juice, this is the second part of the base for this cocktail. It's so easy to make, you just need 3 ingredients. My mom has a secret ingredient that she adds into the red juice...and she finally told me. Its ORANGE SODA! like what? My sister and I were shook. I didn't include it in this recipe. However, the results were still very flavorful.

I come from a very large family, and there are a lot of picky eaters. So, everyone was able prepare their shrimp cocktail a su gusto (how they like it). Mixing and topping on their fresh ingredients. This was a brilliant idea! Thank you mom for being mindful of that :)

I loved this idea so much, I had to share. Enjoy!

Shrimp cocktail


  • 2.5-3 lbs medium or large shrimp, deveined with shells, rinsed

  • 6 cups water

  • 6 whole peppercorns

  • 1 bay leaf

  • Quarter white onion

  • 1 large celery cut into thirds

  • 2 tsp kosher salt

Clamato/ tomato juice mixture ingredients (red juice)

  • 2 cups clamato

  • Half cup ketchup

  • ¼ tsp kosher salt

  • 1 lime juiced

Fresh cut veggies

  • 2-3 cucumbers, seeded, diced

  • 4 Roma tomatoes, seeded, diced

  • 1 medium onion, diced

  • Half bunch cilantro, chopped

  • 3 avocados, diced

  • 3 limes, cut into wedges


  1. Bring a large pot to boil with onion, celery, bay leaf, peppercorns, and salt. Once it comes to a boil, add the shrimp and let it boil for 3-5 minutes, until white and opaque (you don’t want to over boil them because they can become too tough). Turn the heat off and let the shrimp sit in the broth for 1-2 hours and it’ll cool down on its own (the longer it sits will ensure the broth becomes extra flavorful).

  2. Strain the shrimp into a large bowl to separate the shrimp from the broth. Peel the shrimp and place them in the bowl with the broth. Then, put it in the fridge to chill for about 2-3 hours.

  3. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, whisk together clamato, ketchup, lime juice and salt. This is the base of the red juice for the cocktail. Put it in the fridge to chill for 2 hours.

  4. Place the vegetables in separate bowls or you can mix them together as people can add these as toppings on their own.

  5. When the shrimp is completely chilled, you can set up your own shrimp cocktail stations. Start with the base of the broths: Serve a couple shrimps with the broth, add your clamato sauce to your liking (you can add more ketchup if desired), top with vegetables to your liking

Note: After you cook and peel the shrimp you can cut the shrimp into bite size pieces if you don't want them whole.

Serve with lime juice, tapatio, and enjoy with some saltine crackers or tostadas.

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