Can Shrimp Get Drunk?

May 2 – May 8, 2022

Monday:                   Asparagus and Gruyère Frittata with Parmesan Crostini and Tomatoes and Onions

Tuesday:                   Pasta with Mushroom Ragu

Wednesday:            Greek Meatballs with Tomato Sauce

Thursday:                 Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Friday:                       Drunken Shrimp with Tequila

Saturday:                  Pasta with Turkey Bolgnese

Sunday:                     Yogurt Marinated Chicken Halves with Spiced Herb Sauce

Can Shrimp Get Drunk?

In fact, in China, freshwater shrimp are immersed in rice wine which does something to them you can look up.  They are then served raw.

This is not the sort of thing Beez would countenance.  We do not allow consumption of alcohol by non-humans at Casa Stuarti, although there was the one night where Maxie got into the beer during a pong-fest while we were out of town.

In any event, I have it on good authority that salt-water shrimp, which is what we have access to in Pittsburgh, prefer grog (a mixture of water and rum), perhaps due to their long acquaintance with the Pirates of the Caribbean or, maybe, just as a matter of taste.

But enough of this idle and rather fantastic speculation.  Drunken Shrimp is a fine, tasty dish which we stumbled on one night when, spelunking in the freezer, we found grey, frozen chicken (which we discarded) and pink, frozen shrimp.  A recipe was called for and, while we love roasting shrimp or creating a classic scampi with butter and garlic, we had seen a recipe for drunken shrimp camarones borrachos) in Milk Street Magazine and being a tad borrachos ourselves, figured we had nothing to lose (other than a cup or so of tequila).

This is one of the truly delicious ways to infuse shrimp with big flavor, while not overwhelming the sweet, briny meatiness of the little b-tards.*  If you are a shell-fish lover, you’ll want to try this recipe.*Well, not strictly speaking.  While the procreation of shrimp does not require any emotional attachment or long-term commitment, the physical process, which is strange for those of us who are not arthropods, makes shrimp parentage legally certifiable.  I wonder whether it’s a plus or minus for their emotional health?

[I realize now, rereading the above, that I seem to have been imbibing significant amounts of the tequila that remained after we cooked the shrimp.  I’m going to let it stand, nevertheless, as lesson to those of you who may be visiting a cantina in the near future and are not sure how to behave.]

Here’s the recipe:

Drunken Shrimp with Tequila (Camarones Borrachos)

[adapted from Milk Street Magazine, May-June, 2022]

Timing:                                       About 25 minutes

Ingredients:                                     Feeds 4

2 pounds of large shrimp [If your shrimp is frozen, allow 10 more minutes for thawing it under cold running water and a few minutes for drying it with paper towels.]

2 teaspoons lime juice, plus lime wedges for serving (2 limes)

½ cup blanco or silver tequila – it should be clear in color

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons butter cut into three pieces

6 medium garlic cloves (we used 4)

2-3 teaspoons red pepper flakes

¼ cup lightly packed cilantro, roughly chopped

½ cucumber peeled and thinly sliced

½ small red onion, thinly sliced

Kosher salt and ground black pepper


Measure out ingredients, chop cilantro and peel and slice cucumber and slice red onion.  Juice one lime (2 teaspoons)

In a large bowl, stir the shrimp, lime juice and ½ teaspoon of salt.  Set aside.

In a bowl, combine the tequila and 1 cup of water.


In a large skilled, heat the oil and butter over medium until it foams.  Add the garlic and cook, stirring until fragrant but not browned – a minute or 2.  Keep the heat on the low side – you don’t want to burn the garlic.

Add the tequila/water mixture, red pepper flakes, another teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of black pepper.  Bring this to a simmer, stirring occasionally until the mixture is reduced and turns red – about 8 minutes (you’ll have about ¾ cup of liquid at this point).

Reduce the heat to medium, add the shrimp and cook, stirring and turning until they are pink and opaque – about 3 minutes for shelled, shrimp, about 4 for shrimp with tails on.

Off the heat, stir in cilantro, taste and re-season with salt and pepper, if needed.

Transfer to a shallow serving bowl (or leave in skillet) and garnish with cucumber and onion.  Serve with lime wedges.

We like to serve this with a side of rice or rice pilaf to soak up the juices.

Appetizer from Sunday – welcoming UFR home from Ireland

2 thoughts on “Can Shrimp Get Drunk?

  1. Bill, never would have thought, tequila and shrimp, but the recipe sounds delicious! Thank you, As always, Merci beaucoup Mon ami!,🐇💕💙🌷🍷

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