Crab Cocktail Recipe

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Crab Nutrition Facts





Alcohol %:20

Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 7, 2024


The Crab Cocktail, despite its name, is not a seafood cocktail. It's actually a classic cocktail that dates back to the early 20th century. The name comes from the crab apple, which was originally used in the cocktail for its tart flavor. This cocktail is perfect for those who enjoy a balance of sweet and sour in their drinks.

  • Originated in the early 20th century
  • Named after the crab apple
  • Ideal for those who like a balance of sweet and sour

How Crab Tastes?

The Crab Cocktail has a unique balance of sweet and sour. The tartness of the lime juice is perfectly balanced by the sweetness of the apple juice and grenadine, while the vodka adds a smooth, strong kick.

Interesting facts about Crab

  • The Crab Cocktail was originally made with crab apple juice, hence the name.
  • Despite its name, it does not contain any seafood.
  • It's a versatile cocktail that can be enjoyed before or after dinner.


A few good options for Crab are:

  • Grey Goose
  • Belvedere
  • Khor
  • Smirnoff

Learn everything on which Vodka to choose


Vodka is the backbone of this cocktail, providing a neutral spirit base that allows the other flavors to shine. At 2oz, it's just the right amount to establish a strong foundation without overpowering the accompanying flavors. If you use more, the cocktail might become too boozy; less, and it could be too weak. An alternative could be white rum for a slightly sweeter, more complex flavor.

Mary Mitkina

Apple Juice

Apple juice gives our Crab cocktail a fruity and slightly sweet profile. At 2oz, it balances the vodka and prevents the cocktail from becoming too tart from the lime juice. Overdoing it with the juice could make the drink too sweet, but too little might result in an imbalanced acid profile. For a twist, try pear juice to add a different fruity note.

Alex Green

Lime Juice

Adding just the right tart zing, 1oz of lime juice counters the sweetness and enriches the cocktail's fresh character. Without it, the drink may become cloying. But too much can make it mouth-puckeringly sour. Lemon juice could serve as a substitute for a slightly different citrus note.

Emma Rose


Grenadine adds a hint of pomegranate sweetness and a beautiful blush color. A teaspoon is perfect to add just a touch of sweetness and color without dominating the flavor profile. If omitted, the cocktail loses some complexity and visual appeal. If you add too much, the drink could become syrupy. Raspberry syrup is a potential alternative, offering a different berry sweetness and color.

Mary Mitkina

Recipe. How to make Crab Drink

  1. Fill a shaker with ice.
  2. Add 2oz of vodka, 2oz of apple juice, 1oz of lime juice, and 1tsp of grenadine.
  3. Shake well until chilled.
  4. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
  5. Garnish with a lime wheel.

Pro Tips

  • Make sure to use fresh lime juice for the best flavor.
  • Chill your glass before serving to keep your cocktail cold longer.

Perfect Pairings


  • Cheese Platters: The crisp acidity of the lime juice and the sweetness of the grenadine can complement the creaminess of cheeses, especially soft cheeses like brie or goat cheese.
  • Seafood: Since the cocktail is named 'Crab', pairing it with crab cakes or shrimp cocktail could play on the theme and provide a refreshing contrast to the briny flavors of the seafood.
  • Spicy Asian Dishes: The sweetness of apple juice and grenadine in the cocktail can help balance the heat from spicy dishes like Thai or Szechuan cuisine.


  • Fruit Tarts: The fruitiness of the apple juice and the tartness of the lime can pair nicely with desserts that feature fresh fruits.
  • Dark Chocolate: The velvet touch of chocolate can be a pleasant contrast to the tangy and sweet notes of the cocktail.

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What you could change in Crab

  • You can substitute the vodka with gin for a different flavor profile.
  • If you can't find grenadine, you can use a cherry syrup instead.

Explore all drinks starting with C here

And of course - twists🍹

Crab Apple Fizz

  • Substitute apple juice with apple cider
  • Add 1oz of sparkling water
  • Add a dash of cinnamon Recipe: Replace the apple juice with the same amount of apple cider for a deeper apple note, shake the vodka, apple cider, lime juice, and grenadine with ice, then strain into a glass and top with sparkling water. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and a lime wheel. This twist offers a more autumnal flavor with effervescence and a warm spice note.

Spicy Crab

  • Add a thin slice of jalapeno to the shaker
  • Use chili-infused vodka instead of regular vodka Recipe: Muddle a slice of jalapeno in the shaker, add the chili-infused vodka, apple juice, lime juice, and grenadine, then shake with ice. Strain into a glass and garnish with a jalapeno slice on the rim. This twist adds a spicy kick, elevating the cocktail to a bolder level for those who like it hot.

Sunset Crab

  • Use pomegranate juice instead of grenadine
  • Add a splash of orange liqueur Recipe: Shake the vodka, apple juice, lime juice, with a splash of orange liqueur and pomegranate juice instead of grenadine. Strain into a glass and garnish with a twisted orange peel. The twist features a more complex and mature flavor profile, with citrus nuances and a richer color reminiscent of a sunset.

In case you forgot basics how to make Crab

Add your ingredients to the shaker first, then ice. Fill it up to ¾ of its capacity to ensure enough space for shaking. Hold the shaker with both hands (one on the top and one on the bottom) and shake vigorously. The shake should come from your shoulders, not your wrists.

Learn everything on how to shake

Place your chosen strainer on top of the shaker or mixing glass, ensuring a secure fit. Pour the cocktail into a glass through the strainer, which will catch solid ingredients and ice. If double straining, hold the fine mesh strainer between the shaker and the glass.

Learn everything on how to strain

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

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Frequently Asked Questions on Crab

What kind of vodka is best for the Crab cocktail?

A high-quality, neutral-flavored vodka is recommended to make the Crab cocktail. This allows the flavors of the apple juice, lime juice, and grenadine to shine without being overshadowed by the vodka.

Can the Crab cocktail be prepared in advance?

This cocktail is best enjoyed immediately after preparation. If prepared in advance, the ice may melt and dilute the flavors.

How can I make my own apple juice for this cocktail?

To make your own apple juice, simply core and peel your preferred type of apples, cut them into chunks, and process them in a juicer. Strain the juice to remove any remaining solids and use as required in your Crab cocktail.

What other garnishes can be used for this cocktail?

Although a lime wheel is the traditional garnish, you can also use an apple slice, cherry, or a sprig of mint to enhance the presentation and add a touch of flavor.

Can I alter the proportions of the ingredients to suit my taste?

Absolutely, personalizing a cocktail to suit your taste preference is part of the joy of mixology. If you prefer a more tart drink, you can increase the lime juice, or for a sweeter cocktail, you could add more grenadine.

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