Image from Alton Brown’s website “Tasting Table”.  This image clearly shows how shrimp cocktail glasses are used with the liner sitting down inside the ice-filled outer glass.

Although I love the colors and patterns, I really try to limit the vintage specialty serving dishes I purchase because of limited storage space, but sometimes I just have to have something. Gentle readers, you can blame today’s post on an antiquing spree with Dear Husband over the weekend.  After reading online that Pell City, AL was supposed to be a good antique store destination we made our way there to find only one good store.

We did enjoy our trip to Landis Antiques before driving over to Oxford.  We had a blast conversing with the two ladies working in the store.  They were cheerful and interesting and we enjoyed ourselves immensely.

We left with four vintage amber colored shrimp cocktail glasses with liners which inspired me to serve shrimp cocktails in them a la 1950’s, and perhaps others will be equally inspired.  No vintage serving pieces?  No worries, improvise!



Oyster cocktail recipes are found prior to shrimp versions and it is a reasonable conclusion that the one followed the other.  An 1899 recipe for oyster cocktail instructs dropping half a dozen small oysters into a wineglass with lemon juice, three drops of Tobasco sauce, a teaspoonful of Worcestershire sauce, and one dessert-spoonful of tomato catchup.  The cook stirred well and served.  Horseradish was served on the side.   (Oscar of the Waldorf).

TO DRESS SHRIMPS IN TOMATO CATSUP.  The Carolina Housewife.  1855.  This receipt combined shrimp and tomato catsup and was one of the earliest this writer found that did so.  While á la braise indicates it was served hot, it did lay the groundwork for the tomato catsup that would later be the basis for a sauce served with cold shrimp.

Boil your shrimps, pick, and put them into an á la braise dish; add two table-spoonfuls of tomato catsup and one of butter, to every half pint of shrimps.  Salt, black and red pepper, to your taste.

BOILED SHRIMP.  Cassell’s Dictionary of Cookery.

Shrimps under-boiled are very indigestible; over-boiled they are tasteless and unwholesome.  The time which they take to boil depends upon the size.  When they change colour, taste them, in order to ascertain whether or not they are sufficiently dressed.  Shrimps are generally boiled in plain salt and water.  M. Soyer recommends that a sprig of lemon thyme, a sprig of mint, and a bay-leaf should be boiled with them; this is a matter of taste.

COCKTAIL SAUCE.  Stevenson Memorial Cook Book.  1919.

Mix well four tablespoonfuls tomato catsup; one of vinegar; two of lemon juice; one of grated horseradish; one of Worcestershire sauce; one teaspoonful salt and a few drops of Tobasco.  Have very cold when poured over cocktails.


Boil green shrimp until tender, about twenty-five minutes.  Peel and break in halves, if large; dice celery and olives with the shrimp, mix well and cover with a cocktail sauce.  [That is far too long by today’s standards to boil shrimp.]

SHRIMP COCKTAIL.  Ladies’ Home Journal.  Dec. 1917.

Mix together the strained juice of half a lemon, one-half teaspoonful of vinegar, eight drops of Tobasco sauce, one-half teaspoonful of horse-radish and one-half teaspoonful of tomato catsup.  Add one can shrimp.  Serve in thoroughly chilled glasses.

Update 4-4-17:  A reader wrote to point out that spell check had changed tobasco to tobacco so the error has been corrected.  Thank you for your careful attention to detail.  As always, Blissful Meals, yall.  Thank you for visiting. – Victoria