With the Amelia Island Shrimp Festival just around the corner, what better way to get in the festive spirit than hosting your own shrimp-themed happy hour at home?

Gather your friends, whip up these delectable shrimp appetizers, and let the good times roll!

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platter of shrimp and lemon wedges with cocktail sauce

A Bit of History

Since its humble beginnings in 1963, the Amelia Island Shrimp Festival has evolved from a small community gathering to a bustling event that draws over 100,000 visitors annually. 

Amelia Island is known for its historical significance as the birthplace of the American shrimping industry, and the festival celebrates this rich heritage with art shows, parades, live music, and plenty of shrimp!

The Drinks

The Cocktail

2 glasses of rhubarb elderflower gin cooler with sprigs of rosemary and chunks of rhubarb
A Dash of Ginger - get the recipe

Kick off your happy hour with a refreshing Rhubarb Elderflower Gin Cooler.  It’s a twist on gin, blending the tartness of rhubarb with the sweet floral notes of elderflower—perfect for toasting to good health and great shrimp! 

The Mocktail

2 glasses of rhubarb basil ginger mocktail with strawberries and a bottle of San Pellegrino
Allianna's Kitchen - get the recipe

For a non-alcoholic option that doesn’t skimp on flavor, this Rhubarb Basil Ginger mocktail mixes rhubarb and ginger with a hint of basil for a refreshing drink that everyone can enjoy.

The Shrimp Appetizers

Here are 6 easy and. delicious appetizers to enjoy these tasty favorites:

Bang Bang Shrimp

a bowl of bang bang shrimp with lemon wedges atop a bed of lettuce
Valentina's Corner - get the recipe

These spicy, crispy shrimp are a crowd-pleaser and will have your guests return for seconds.

Roasted Shrimp Cocktail with Lemon Horseradish Aioli

a plate of roasted shrimp, lemon wedges, parsley, and lemon horseradish aioli
Weight Loss with Cameron Stewart - get the recipe

Upgrade your classic shrimp cocktail with this roasted version, paired with a zesty aioli that packs a punch.

Shrimp Toast

a plate of triangular-shaped shrimp toast with chopped scallion and dipping sauce
Spoon Fork Bacon - get the recipe

Crispy, savory, and utterly addictive, these shrimp toasts will disappear before you know it.

Summer Rolls

a plate of shrimp and julienned veggie rolls wrapped in rice paper with chunky peanut sauce
Delish.com - get the recipe

These are perfect for lighter fare. They’re packed with shrimp and fresh veggies, all wrapped up in delicate rice paper.

Dancing and the Kitchen's Shrimp Cocktail

a platter of shrimp cocktail with lemon wedges, curly parsley, and Dancing and the Kitchen's cocktail sauce
Sheri Silver

Honey and I whip up a killer shrimp cocktail – the secret is that spicy cocktail sauce. When we first landed in Florida, the shrimp were a letdown—limp and mealy, just not party material. Turns out, it was the tap water throwing a wrench in our game! We switched to cooking our shrimp in bottled water, and voilà, problem solved. Now, our shrimp are snappy and delicious, and we’re serving up happy hour with smug satisfaction.

How to Perfectly Cook Shrimp for Shrimp Cocktail

Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil 

Add shrimp, cover, and remove from heat.

Let stand 3-5 minutes until shrimp are bright pink and curled

Drain and run under cold water for a minute

Allow to dry on a paper towel 

Transfer to a prepared tray of ice 

DATK's Spicy Cocktail Sauce

2 cups ketchup (we use Heinz)
3 heaping tablespoons ground horseradish, or to taste
Mix together and enjoy
This is also an excellent dip for cubes of Swiss cheese (our grands are addicted to it)

The Sweet

rhubarb squares stack atop each other
Just So Tasty - get the recipe

End your happy hour on a sweet note with these delicious bars that pair the classic duo of strawberry and rhubarb.

Did these recipes inspire you to host your own shrimp-themed happy hour? I’d love to hear all about your personal shrimp festival! Share your experiences and favorite dishes in the comments below—or tag me in your happy hour highlights!

Remember to snap some pics and tag @DancingAndTheKitchen on Instagram to show off your shrimp-tastic creations! Let’s make every hour happy with a bit of shrimp and loads of laughs.

Keep Dancing, Darlene