Crab Claws–The Ultimate Summer Cocktail

This post is linked to Foodie Friday.

It’s been hot here, really hot. It’s clearly time for Crab Claws. No, not the crab claws of the delightful crustaceans that I love so much (although they are quite tasty, and we enjoyed some just this evening, in fact). I’m talking about the drink, Crab Claws … the punch, the cocktail … one of the pleasures that actually makes hot summer days a bit more bearable. I first mentioned my good friend, Tavie’s, Crab Claws, back at Christmas time in my post on Reindeer Antlers. (I had tweaked her recipe to come up with that festive punch using POM Wonderful juice as my natural and fabulous holiday red coloring.) The original Crab Claws are now desperately needed in this summer heat. We have “crab houses” in our area, the restaurants overlooking the water where they cover the tables with brown paper and dump dozens of the beautiful crustaceans out for all to enjoy. Crab-themed cocktails are the norm at these establishments, with each restaurant having its own specialty … Backfin … Peeler … Crab Claws. The bartender at the restaurant that served Crab Claws disclosed the ingredients in the Crab Claws to my friend, but wouldn’t give her the actual recipe. So, she played mixologist at home until she got the right taste and color. She’s served a lot of happy friends and family members since, and, of course, passed on the recipe to friends like me to ensure even more contented Crab Claw drinkers.

You don’t need a batch of steamed crabs on hand to have a reason to serve these Crab Claws. Just make them any time a delightful cocktail is desired. I assure you that Crab Claws will please all of your adult guests who imbibe. Do not be intimidated by the alcohol in these. Crab Claws do not taste like alcohol; they just taste great! They are the perfect color and the perfect sweetness. Is it the alcohol that balances the sweetness, or sweetness that balances the alcohol? Well, no matter … once you try one, you’ll know exactly what I mean. Even my mom, who usually doesn’t drink, can’t resist Crab Claws. If you don’t drink alcohol, you can still get a tasty drink that’s the same color and refreshing taste by omitting the alcohol—only mixing the juices and grenadine. A batch can be made in about 5 minutes. You just mix ingredients and serve over ice. Chilling before serving is nice, but not required. So, if you are serving a crowd and run out, you just mix another batch of the lovely Crab Claws.

You’ll notice a jalapeno pepper “garnish” in the photo below. It looks a bit obnoxious hanging on the side of the glass, doesn’t it? Allow me to explain. I follow my friend Diva’s monthly Thirsty Thursday challenges over at her blog, Beach Eats. Last month the theme was bourbon, so I entered my Bourbon Banana Colada. This month the theme was jalapeno pepper. That was quite a bit more challenging, especially because Mr. GFE and I are total wimps when it comes to spicy peppers. The words jalapeno and habanero can drive fear into our hearts by their mere mention. I thought a jalapeno pepper application might work in this beverage though. I originally thought about a jalapeno infusion (slicing the jalapeno and leaving it in a tea “ball” in my drink for a period of time), but first I sliced the pepper open and placed it on the glass as garnish. It only sat there long enough for me to snap a few photos. Then, curious, I took a sip of the drink. Almost immediately my lips were on fire and my tongue was as well. I talked Mr. GFE into taking a sip right after I did and he experienced the same. There would be no jalapeno infusion for my Crab Claws after all. But, if you decide to try either—the Crab Claws with Jalapeno Dip or Jalapeno Infusion—I advise you to be very cautious. (Bodily harm may truly be only a few sips away.) Back to Diva’s challenge … sadly, I got my dates mixed up and missed the deadline for Diva’s contest. But, you can see Diva’s complete roundup of the jalapeno beverages here. Diva’s own jalapeno creation was a Madagascar Margarita; check it out here.

Crab Claws
(Click here for a print version of this recipe.)

1 cup vodka
1 cup rum
1 cup tequila
1 cup grenadine
3 cups orange juice
3 cups pineapple juice

Mix all together. Chill before serving if time allows. Serve over ice.

Shirley’s Notes: As you can see, this recipe is for a large amount, specifically 10 cups, which is over half a gallon, so be sure to have a large container to make it in. If you’d like a smaller amount, just use “parts” versus cups. So, for example, your part could be ½ cup, that would be ½ cup each of vodka, rum, tequila, and grenadine and then 1 ½ cups each of orange juice and pineapple juice. You’d get 5 cups of Crab Claws in that case. If you want to just test the recipe for one or two drinks, you could use ¼ cup as your part and adapt accordingly.

A few more things:

The winner of the Cavemen Cookies giveaway is up on my Out and About page. There’s also a 10% discount code provided for those who want to order some on their own to sample.

Tomorrow is Diane’s (The W.H.O.L.E. GangFriday Foodie Fix. This week’s ingredient is cherries. If all goes well, I’ll be back with some cherry goodness tomorrow afternoon. I’ll also have my weekly roundup of what I’ve found of interest in the blogosphere and my announcement on what’s happening next week here at gfe.

Go ahead, make yourself a Crab Claw, or a whole pitcher full and invite some friends over. You’ll be very popular (not to mention happy!), if you do.

Not just gf, but gfe!

Not just gf, but gfe!

Full Disclosure/Disclaimer: This post may contain one or more affiliate links. If you purchase through them, your cost will always be the same, but I will receive a small commission. Thanks for the support! Read the full disclaimer here.


29 Responses to “Crab Claws–The Ultimate Summer Cocktail”

  1. Tangled Noodle on July 8th, 2010 11:03 pm

    “Crab Claws do not taste like alchohol” . . . which makes this one very dangerous cocktail! 8-D We went the infusion route and nearly set ourselves on fire the first time; the second time (thank goodness there was enough feeling left in our mouths for a re-do) we just soaked the chile w/o splitting it open. Whew!

    This is the perfect pass-the-pitcher refreshment for the summer with a bunch of guests but your tips on making it per serving ensures that the hubs and I can enjoy this on our own, too!

    • Shirley on July 9th, 2010 12:15 am

      Hey Noodle–Great to see you! :-) Yep, dangerously delicious. Oh, good idea on not splitting the chile open. Potent babies for sure. I feel better now about my naivete, since you went through a similar experience! Mr. GFE has actually enjoyed chile beer, but it was more subtly flavored. That’s what I had in mind originally. ;-)

      I really hope you’ll make the Crab Claws for you and your husband (and/or for guests) and report back. It’s usually a beverage that goes in the summer rotation and is quite popular. :-)


  2. Heidi Kelly on July 8th, 2010 11:26 pm

    LMAO! Seriously, I have tears in my eyes Shirley. I used to be that way too, before moving to New Mexico. The first time I met my future brother-in-law at a local restaurant, he dared me to eat a jalapeno. I thought, bring it on, I can so do that! Nevermind that being from Ohio, my idea of a jalapeno was of the pickled variety! My future father-in-law told me to inhale through my mouth to cool off (never, ever do that, it makes the heat worse!). I was out of my beverage so my future mother-in-law picked up the bowl of sour cream and made me submerge my tongue in it. How’s that for a first impression?

    I need a Crab Claw.


    • Shirley on July 9th, 2010 12:18 am

      Hey Heidi–Boy, that was a cruel thing for your your future BIL to do to his future SIL. You were a trooper for sure! OMG, sticking your tongue in the sour cream—that’s a story will live on in infamy! ;-)

      I think you’d really like these Crab Claws … no jalapeno needed … oh, okay, only if your BIL is visiting. You can do the infusion method just for his glass. :-) You know what they say about payback …


  3. The Diva on a Diet on July 8th, 2010 11:39 pm

    Shirley, what a gorgeous drink! I just love the color and the name! I’m giggling a bit that you’re jalapeno-averse … they can get spicy alright, but I kind of dig the burn.

    I went searching for your entry this morning when I was writing up the post and must have missed, otherwise I would certainly have included you in the round-up. I don’t care about the deadline at all! Its my bad for missing it.

    I will go back and edit and add you to the post, but unfortunately not until Monday. We’re leaving town early tomorrow morning for the weekend. I’m shutting down the old laptop just as soon as I post this – but wanted to be sure to pop in and tell you thanks and I love your drink!

    Enjoy the weekend!


    • Shirley on July 9th, 2010 12:22 am

      Hi Diva–It really does make a lovely presentation, doesn’t it? Re: the jalapeno burn, you are a far more worldly girl than I. ;-)

      No worries on missing my entry. It’s so kind of you to still include my entry! Now go enjoy your disconnected weekend! :-)


  4. Kim on July 9th, 2010 7:54 am

    These sounds great! I have never heard of this cocktail, but sounds like something we would enjoy.

    • Shirley on July 10th, 2010 10:34 am

      Hi Kim–Thanks! They are really great. We’ve been drinking a little each evening from this batch I made for the post. I normally don’t make these just for us. ;-) I only know of one restaurant that actually made Crab Claws. Like I said, every local crab house has its own specialty crab-named drink. ;-) I know if you make them, you will love them. Good reason to schedule a cookout with friends or make a smaller batch for just the two of you. ;-)


  5. Linda on July 9th, 2010 10:03 am

    I’m a hot pepper wimp too! That drink looks delicious. I love the color.

    • Shirley on July 10th, 2010 10:36 am

      Hey Linda–LOL Yep, total hot pepper wimp here … we’re in the same club, and I’m not ashamed! ;-) It’s really an irresistible drink with its color, taste, etc.—thanks!


  6. Chelsey on July 9th, 2010 12:20 pm

    Holy mackeral there’s a lot of alcochol in there! No wonder it’s so tasty ;).

    Back when Victor and I were dating we had a jalapeño eating contest to see who was the bravest. I ended up winning by eating some forty+ jalapeño slices. It got to the point where my was so on fire that one more didn’t change anything. The burn didn’t go away for over two hours…

    I guess you could say I’m just one hot tamale!!!

    • Shirley on July 10th, 2010 10:40 am

      LOL Chelsey … there’s a lot of juice, too! I promise you’ll love it if you try it!

      OMG, a jalapeno-eating contest … what a girl will do for love!! I can’t even begin to imagine. I would have been in the hospital after just a few slices. And, yes, Chelsey, you are one hot tamale! Maybe we should add smokin’ to that. You are one smokin’ hot tamale! Yes, that sounds right! Of course, I knew that before you told me about your contest with Victor! ;-)


  7. char kelly on July 9th, 2010 8:06 pm

    Yup, I am Heidi’s mother in law and she is absolutely right. The guys in my family thought that they were perpetrating a harmless prank…NOT! I am gluten intolerant, have had the same joint aches, yucks, etc…have been tentatively diagnosed as having mild crohns, but am symptom free as long as I do not consume gluten. How I identify with the random symptoms and the response that it is “all in my head” and a few mood elevators (we all know what those are) will rectify the problem…RIGHT!
    I really enjoy trying the recipes you post…
    thanks for such a wonderful blog!

    • Shirley on July 10th, 2010 10:46 am

      Hi char–What a treat to have you stop by and collaborate Heidi’s story (not that I doubted her for a minute!) … welcome to gfe! Now you were an awesome future MIL to give Heidi a milk-based product to douse her fire without making her feel embarrassed!

      I love hearing how you are using the gluten-free (and mood-elevator-free) lifestyle to stay symptom free! Please keep ignoring the non-believers and spreading the word in case you might help someone else who is suffering needlessly.

      Finally, thanks so much for your kind words on my recipes and blog! Truly hope you will stop by often, Char. :-)


  8. Iris on July 10th, 2010 11:34 am

    I would love to come to a party at your house and have cocktails with you! :)

    • Shirley on July 10th, 2010 11:04 pm

      Oh, Iris, that would be terrific! I’ll let you know when the next one is scheduled. Hopefully, you can get a super airfare from Seattle. :-)


  9. Alyssa on July 10th, 2010 11:50 am

    I just found your blog and will definitely be checking it out often for cool new recipes!


    • Shirley on July 10th, 2010 11:07 pm

      Hi Alyssa–Welcome to gfe! Thanks so much for your kind words. :-) Please let me know if you are looking for any recipes in particular, but be sure to check out my Recipes tab below the header.

      Oh, and it looks like you are fairly new to blogging, too, with Gluten-Free Muse–good for you. There can never be enough gluten-free bloggers IMO. ;-)


  10. glutenfreeforgood on July 10th, 2010 4:04 pm

    Whoa, this is a big-girl drink! Think I better stick to my red wine, although this looks deliciously tempting. Might end up dancing on the table if I indulged in this mix. I have enough trouble with 1 (okay, 2) glasses of wine.

    Hmmm? On second thought, I’ll be over for cocktails and flourless chocolate cake. What time should I arrive?

    This is a fun post for a summer’s eve!

    • Shirley on July 10th, 2010 11:12 pm

      Melissa–Oh, you crack me up! But, yes, definitely a “big-girl drink”! ;-) Not something we indulge in often, but it is a crowd pleaser for sure. I’d like to see you dancing on the table. You know you “got the music in you.” :-) Gosh, I haven’t thought about flourless chocolate cake in a while. I like that better with a good cab though so maybe we need to go back to wine. How about if I make margarita pie (sort of like Key Lime with tequila and a pretzel crust) to go with these Crab Claws? :-)

      Thanks, my dear!

  11. Alta on July 15th, 2010 1:13 pm

    Sounds tasty! I love all the commentry about jalapenos – I’m totally NOT a jalapeno wimp, although I eat a lot less spicy foods than I used to. But raw jalapenos? Bring em on! However, I think I’d prefer to have this drink pepper-less, and use it to douse the flames when I chow down on some jalapeno-laden foods!

    • Shirley on July 16th, 2010 10:48 am

      Hey Alta–LOL You spicy girls amaze me! ;-) I’d probaby be in awe of your pepper tolerance if I witnessed it first hand! And, I’d get hot just from watching you consume them. LOL I think you are so right on the best way to use this drink! :-)


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