How to Make Cocktail Sauce - Florida Sunshine Flavor
What's your favorite cocktail sauce? As a resident of South Georgia, I have access to all kinds of fresh seafood, and we love seafood recipes. The Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico produce an abundance of blue crabs, stone crab claws, shrimp, scallops, oysters, clams, and numerous species of finned fishes. Streams, ponds, and bayous also produce crawfish. All my family members love seafood, especially when it’s served with some type of seafood sauce. With steamed or grilled seafood, and with crab cakes, we usually prefer a cocktail sauce. I have an “old reliable” cocktail sauce recipe that everyone loves, but I decided to make something a little different last night to go with our boiled shrimp. It was a big hit! This cocktail sauce recipe is sweet and hot, and it also has the brightness of citrus fruits. It’s super easy to make, and you’ll want to prepare a lot of it – seriously. It was wonderful with our shrimp cocktail, but it would also be perfect with steamed blue crabs, stone crab claws, crawfish, oysters, crab cakes, grilled fish, grilled shrimp, or with most other seafood recipes. Give this homemade cocktail sauce a try!
How To Make Cocktail Sauce
If you want to learn to make cocktail sauce, use your imagination! Include your own favorites when it comes to ingredients. You'll need to start with some type of base. The most popular are ketcup and chili sauce, but there's no reason you have to follow tradition. For example, I make a great seafood sauce that uses a mayonnaise base, and it's very similar to the yum yum sauce you get at Japanese steak houses. An old pal of mine used to make an oyster sauce with mayonnaise and mustard as a base, and it was very tasty with roasted oysters. When she told me about her homemade seafood sauce, it didn't sound very impressive. Once I tried it, I changed my mind.
Other ingredients you might want to consider include barbecue sauce, Russian salad dressing, French salad dressing, Catalina salad dressing, tomato sauce, tomato paste, marinara sauce, crushed tomatoes, tomato puree, tomato juice, or butter. Yes, seasoned seafood butters are great with grilled, boiled, steamed, and roasted seafood! For a thinner, hotter sauce, you might want to consider using hot sauce or Tabasco sauce as a base.
What other seasonings should you add to your homemade cocktail sauce? Fruit juices work well here. The standard is lemon juice, but I think lime juice gives the sauce a better flavor. Believe it or not, orange juice is great, too. For sort of a Polynesian version, try using pineapple juice, and for Caribbean flavor, try adding some pureed mango to your sauce. You might also consider adding just a little vinegar to your cocktail sauce recipe.
How to make cocktail sauce that's hot and spicy? Grated horseradish is hard to beat, in my opinion, but there are other choices. They include paprika, hot sauce, Tabasco sauce, cayenne, and pureed chili peppers. For some smoky heat, include some chipotle powder. For a creamier cocktail sauce, add creamed horseradish instead of grated.
Do you like your seafood sauce to have some sweetness? If so, adding white sugar is the obvious choice, but brown sugar can work just as well. Other choices include honey, molasses, corn syrup, maple syrup, and cane syrup. If you want the sweet flavor without the added calories, try using Splenda in your sauce.
This seafood sauce is pretty sweet, so you might want to start with less sugar than I used. You can always add more later – just make sure the sugar dissolves completely before you serve the cocktail sauce. Also, we love horseradish, and truth be told, I used more grated horseradish than I include in the following recipe. I realize, however, that not everyone likes this much heat, so keep that in mind. Obviously, we like a seafood sauce with a hot kick, so I also add a healthy amount of hot sauce to this cocktail sauce recipe. You might want to omit the hot sauce completely.
Since we’ll be eating this cocktail sauce mostly with Florida seafood, and because it includes citrus fruit juices, I named it “Sunshine Cocktail Sauce,” after the Sunshine State. After all, I didn’t want it to be confused with my Georgia Cocktail Sauce recipe that’s on my Best American Food site.
Rate my homemade cocktail sauce. Thanks!
- 3 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 cup Heinz ketchup
- 2 tablespoons grated horseradish
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- hot sauce, to taste
- In a small bowl, combine orange juice concentrate, lime juice, lemon juice, and sugar.
- Stir until sugar dissolves.
- Add ketchup, grated horseradish, vinegar, onion powder, and garlic powder. Taste the cocktail sauce. If it’s already hot enough for your tastes, you’re done. If not, add bottled hot sauce, to taste.
- Cover the seafood sauce and chill it in the fridge until you’re ready to serve your seafood.