If you are a real seafood lover, then you are probably familiar with cocktail sauce. It is that luscious red dressing that acts as an icing on the cake – elevating your culinary experience. In all likelihood, you have probably tried it with shrimp and prawns.
Of course, a cursory look at the grocery should tell you that you are practically spoiled for choice when it comes to cocktail sauce brands. After all, there is often an entire row dedicated to this single condiment. That stands as a testament to its ubiquity and should tell you much about its popularity.
However, this also cuts both ways. With the breadth of choices available to you, it can be quite challenging to pick a specific cocktail sauce for your kitchen. Luckily, we are here to lend a hand and make things that much simpler.
So what is the best cocktail sauce brand? The answer depends on your spice preference as some cocktails sauces are spicier than others. Most store-bought cocktail sauces include ingredients like horseradish, lemon juice, and ketchup, but some may include mayonnaise and fresh tomatoes.
Be sure to keep reading as we delve into our picks for the 5 best cocktail sauce brands. We’ll also be delving deeper into the things you need to know about your favorite condiment, so be sure to stick around.
Cocktail Sauce Buying Guide
Before we proceed with our picks for the 5 best cocktail sauce brands, we thought it necessary to cover a few things about this exceptional condiment.
After all, there are probably quite a few people who are wholly unfamiliar with this sauce. At the same time, there are some things that are worth going over again even if you are a cocktail sauce fan.
Presented here are a couple of things that cocktail sauce buyers need to take note of. This includes everything from the most basic information to some lesser-known facts about the cocktail sauce.
We recommend that you take note of these as they may come in handy the next time you swing by the grocery.
Cocktail Sauce Components
Invented by British celebrity chef Fanny Cradock, the cocktail sauce is what is known as a cold sauce. This means that there is no need to heat it before serving. So, as you would expect, it is quite normal for it to be served cold or even at room temperature.
The composition of cocktail sauce is as straightforward as it can get. It is a mixture of different sauces that blend together to create a condiment that is wholly unique.
The typical American version of the sauce usually includes the following:
- Worcestershire sauce
- Lemon juice
This list presents the most commonly used ingredients for making the cocktail sauce. However, it should also be noted that there are some versions that replace ketchup with a tomato-based chili sauce to give more of a kick.
While seemingly simple, there is a lot that goes into cocktail sauce. Getting the right ratio of the different ingredients often separates the good ones from the bad. A great cocktail sauce should be greater than the sum of its parts.
Cocktail Sauce Varieties
Most people don’t realize this, but there is a lot of nuances that come with a great cocktail sauce.
At the same time, there are also more ways than one to make this condiment. That is why we must also look at the most common variants of cocktail sauce available in the market today.
- American Cocktail Sauce – This is the most well-known and readily available variant of cocktail sauce around. It makes use of the standard set of ingredients like ketchup, lemon juice, and horseradish. This is a tried-and-tested mixture that has been proven effective for all kinds of seafood cocktail recipes.
- Marie Rose Cocktail Sauce – This is the type of cocktail sauce that is most commonly used in Europe, especially in the UK, France, Ireland, Belgium, and Italy. Compared to the original recipe, this cocktail sauce has a notably tangier, richer, and sharper flavor. This is because it swaps out horseradish with mayonnaise and ketchup with real tomatoes though it does retain the use of lemon juice while also incorporating other spices into the mix. On that note, you will also probably notice that Marie Rose Cocktail Sauce looks a little different compared to the typical American cocktail sauce. Specifically, the European sauce has a pinkish color that brings to mind fry sauce.
- Belgian Cocktail Sauce – The Belgian Cocktail sauce is heavily influenced by the European variant, as you would expect. It is almost identical in terms of appearance and ingredients. However, the striking difference is that the Belgian cocktail sauce has a hint of whiskey in it which gives it an additional zing.
Cocktail Sauce Food Pairings
As its name suggests, the cocktail sauce is most associated with the prawn cocktail. However, there is no limit to its versatility.
Not only can it be served with any other shellfish, but you should also know that cocktail sauce can also be used on oysters, clams, and salmon as well.
In addition to seafood dishes, cocktail sauce is also known to go well with a wide array of non-seafood dishes:
- Poached Eggs
- French Fries
- Hash browns
- Fried Chicken
- Fish and Chips
Clearly, as this list shows, cocktail sauce remains one of the most versatile and widely used condiments around. It can certainly hold its own against other popular sauces. This is because its sheer simplicity never fails to bring a dish up a notch.
The 5 Best Cocktail Sauce Brands
As you probably know, there is no shortage of choices when it comes to cocktail sauce brands.
However, we have chosen these 5 best cocktail sauce brands of based on the simple fact that they stand out against the competition. So, be sure to check out our list.
|Rank||Recommended Cocktail Sauce Brand||Best Feature|
|1.||Old Original Bookbinder's Cocktail Sauce||Best cocktail sauce for seafood|
|2.||St Elmo’s Cocktail Sauce||Spiciest cocktail sauce|
|3.||Crosse & Blackwell Cocktail Sauce||Flavorful and versatile|
|4.||JR Kelly Cocktail Sauce||Creamy and versatile|
|5.||Trader Joe's Seafood Cocktail Sauce||Most unique flavor profile|
1. The Old Original Bookbinder’s Restaurant Style Cocktail Sauce
Next, we have the Old Original Bookbinder’s Restaurant Style Cocktail Sauce. As its name suggests, this brand has been around for a while.
Established in 1865, it is nearly as old as the seafood cocktail recipe itself. Undoubtedly, it is an institution in the cocktail sauce arena that we simply can’t ignore.
As you would expect, this brand knows what it is doing when it comes to cocktail sauces. After all, there is no beating experience.
The sauce perfectly complements your fresh seafood, bringing out its natural flavors, and bringing out all its luscious elements.
Undoubtedly, this is a classic sauce that hasn’t worn out its welcome.
2. St Elmo’s Cocktail Sauce
Next, we have St. Elmo’s Cocktail Sauce. A quick look at its name should be enough to tell you that this sauce is not for lightweights.
This is the cocktail sauce for people looking to add a bit of heat to their seafood cocktail.
As its name suggests (St. Elmo’s Fire being the point of reference), this cocktail sauce is incredibly spicy. It has certainly earned its reputation.
A fair warning though, if you aren’t a fan of too much heat on your food, then you might want to stay away from this one.
Conversely, if you like spice, then this is certainly the sauce for you as it never fails to make any dish that much more exciting.
3. Crosse & Blackwell Cocktail Sauce
Next, we have the Crosse & Blackwell Cocktail Sauce. This is the cocktail sauce if you are looking for a more rounded and accessible dining experience.
The flavor is the main draw here as it doesn’t seek to overwhelm nor overpower your ingredients.
Instead, this seafood cocktail sauce brings the right level of balance. It perfectly blends the kick of ground horseradish with the natural sweetness of the tomato. This gives you a sauce that is just brimming with flavor.
This sauce goes well with all types of seafood. However, it has enough versatility to also pair well with fried food like fries and onion rings.
4. JR Kelly Cocktail Sauce
First, we have the JR Kelly cocktail sauce. Made from real horseradish, this sauce has a smooth, delightful, yet spicy taste that is simply delectable.
Incredibly creamy, this sauce will undoubtedly elevate any seafood cocktail you pair with it.
However, if there is one thing that sets this sauce apart from the rest then it has to be its sheer versatility.
It is perfect for a wide array of dishes including hotdogs, roast beef, lamb, hamburgers, and cold cut sandwiches. It even works well as a dipping sauce for your favorite chips.
5. Trader Joe’s Seafood Cocktail Sauce
Finally, we have Trader Joe’s Seafood Cocktail Sauce. For the record, we believe that this sauce is an absolute classic that doesn’t get enough credit.
That is why we highly recommend that you give it a try to see what we are talking about.
The sauce’s unique flavor profile should be enough to convince anyone. It is one of the best brands around because it serves as the perfect condiment for all types of seafood.
So, whether you are in the mood for prawns, clams, or tuna – make sure to keep this cocktail handy.
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