Cocktail sauce was most popular during the 20th century and continues to be a popular condiment in the 21st. While it may seem like a specialized seasoning, it may be more versatile than you think. Here are some of the best uses for cocktail sauce:
As a shellfish condiment
Cocktail sauce has always been used as a sauce for shellfish. These days, it is mainly used as a dipping sauce for shrimp, but its origin story began with it being slathered onto oysters. It works well with crabs and other kinds of shellfish in addition to shrimp.
The acidity of cocktail sauce that comes from ketchup and lemon juice is supposed to cut through the fishiness of shrimp and is one of the elements that make cocktail sauce popular with people who don’t really like the taste of seafood.
Cocktail sauce gets its name from the fact that the shellfish it accompanied was often served in a cocktail glass such as a margarita glass or champagne coupe.
As a salad dressing
Cocktail sauce can give you many of the qualities that you want from a salad dressing. It has acidity and sweetness from lemon juice and ketchup and a little heat from hot sauce and horseradish. A Worcestershire sauce can give it a little complexity and depth.
Add to a green salad where it can have a similar effect as Russian dressing. To make it a little more like a Russian dressing, you can add a few celery seeds and let it sit overnight.
In Bloody Mary mixes
The world’s most famous savory cocktail is the perfect home for cocktail sauce. One of the qualities that bloody Mary lovers enjoy most is the heavy use of seasoning in the drink. Bloody Mary mixes are known for being spicy both in terms of heat and in terms of using lots of different seasonings.
The horseradish and Tabasco component of cocktail sauce will be right at home with the tomato juice and other ingredients found in the typical bloody Mary. The fact that bloody Mary cocktails are often garnished with cocktail shrimp makes the presence of cocktail sauce even more enjoyable.
In an all-purpose dipping dauce
The most common kind of cocktail sauce in the US will contain a handful of ingredients that include ketchup, horseradish, and Worcestershire sauce. Often lemon juice and hot sauce (Tabasco is traditional) are added. This cocktail sauce makes a versatile dipping sauce for various fried foods, including chicken nuggets and fries.
The addition of mayonnaise makes it more like the UK version of cocktail sauce, which is sometimes called Marie Rose sauce. Marie Rose sauce is the same as fry sauce, which is simply a blend of ketchup and mayonnaise used as a dipping sauce for French fries.
In place of barbecue sauce
Cocktail sauce doesn’t have much in common with barbecue sauce, so it won’t be a good substitute if you want the sweet and caramelized notes of true barbecue; however, it will complement most grilled and smoked meats.
Most cocktail sauce has a tomato base, just like barbecue sauce, to provide some of the same acidity and sheen. It is ideal if you don’t like true barbecue sauce but want something that can play the same role.