What is Cocktail Sauce: History and Recipe
Shrimp and cocktail sauce – everyone’s favorite party snack! Whether you’re walking and talking or sitting down enjoying a nice glass of your favorite beverage, you can enjoy this unique and flavorful dish however you choose; it truly is the perfect snack.
But, where did it originate? And, what exactly is in it that makes it taste so good?
Join us as we take a deep-dive into all things cocktail sauce in order to get a better understanding of America’s favorite little red sauce.
The Origins of Cocktail Sauce & How it Got its Name
Cocktail sauce seems to be an enigma – like it’s always been around? From early childhood family parties to the fancier dinner parties of adulthood, it’s been a constant, delicious treat to enjoy. But, it had to start somewhere, right?
Yes. Cocktail sauce, contrary to popular belief, has not always been around to lay beautifully in a martini glass. Its origins start back in the late 19th and early 20th century.
Historians trace the beginnings of the cocktail sauce we know today back to the late 19th century and early 20th century. This sauce has varied a bit from its original flavor, however, it was still noted as being a spicy tomato-based sauce that was classically served as an appetizer in a cocktail glass due to the prohibition.
Alcoholic beverages were no longer being served, yet the desire to use the beautiful glassware remained and thus the cocktail sauce was born.
The Role of Cocktail Sauce in Seafood Cuisine
Like macaroni and cheese, French fries and ketchup, and peanut butter and jelly, the cocktail sauce and shrimp pairing seem to be one that has always been around – one that has inspired love songs through the generations.
But, this actually isn’t the case. Originally, the cocktail sauce was paired with none other than the oyster. According to some reports, a California miner ordered a plate of oysters and a whiskey, eventually combining the two through an accidental knock down.
Eventually this combination of vinegar, alcohol, and sea-flavor became a hit becoming known as the “oyster cocktail.”
But, in a local Las Vegas casino in the 1950’s everything changed. The Golden Gate Hotel started offering a little-known shrimp cocktail appetizer for 50 cents that was served in a tulip sundae glass. Without any salad to accompany it, this easy, on-the-go pairing quickly became a new, national sensation that remains to this day, one of America’s favorite appetizers.
Traditional Ingredients of Cocktail Sauce
The cocktail sauce recipe has changed throughout the years and developed into a personal recipe for each individual home, however, the main ingredients always tend to include some array of ketchup, horseradish, Worcestershire, lemon, and Tobasco or Sriracha sauce.
Together, these ingredients create a slightly spicy, rich, vinegar flavor that is truly unlike any other sauce on the market. Paired with the subtle, salty flavors of a shrimp, the cocktail sauce is only enhanced, giving it an elevated, acidic flavor.
Crafting Your Own Cocktail Sauce
To create your own cocktail sauce, you’ll need the aforementioned ingredients above and a little creativity. While this historic and beloved sauce has a foundational recipe, it can always be tweaked based on preference to create a completely unique recipe that is perfect for every family and every party!
At Red Gold, our classic cocktail sauce is kept uniquely simple with fresh ingredients, every time. Not only is our sauce vegan and gluten free, but it is made from real family-farm-grown tomatoes that perfectly pairs with shrimp, crab cakes, or casseroles.
For even more zest to your cocktail sauce, we recommend adding non-seafood snacks like cheese, chicken tenders, or freshly chopped peppers for even more flavor diversity!
Experience Traditional Red Gold Cocktail Sauce
At Red Gold Tomatoes, we pride ourselves on being the tomato experts, delivering award-winning, generational recipes that truly stand the test of time. From our canned tomatoes to our delicious cocktail sauce made with real sugar and no HFCS and more, there’s not a single recipe that doesn’t pair amazingly with a variety of dishes! We know, we’ve tested them!