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Drunken Shrimp with Tequila (Camarones Borrachos)

4 to 6 Servings

35 minutes

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These camarones borrachos—or “drunken shrimp,” translated from the Spanish—are food writer and recipe developer Paola Briseño-González’s version of a dish served up by Sergio Peñuelas at 106 Seafood Underground, a casual outdoor eatery located, literally, in the backyard of a residence in Inglewood, California. Peñuelas uses head-on shelled shrimp, which are amazingly flavorful but difficult to source. For this recipe, you can peel and devein the shrimp so they’re easy to eat or you can leave the shells on, as they contain loads of shrimp flavor and do an excellent job of trapping the garlicky, spicy sauce. Use a tequila that’s labeled as “blanco,” “plata,” “white” or “silver”—it should be clear and lack color—rather than a variety that’s rested (reposado) or aged (añejo). If you like, serve with rice on the side, as Peñuelas does, and with lots of napkins if you’ve kept the shells on the shrimp.

4 to 6



Don’t forget to reduce the heat to medium before adding the shrimp to the skillet. Gentle cooking helps ensure that the shrimp cook up plump and tender.

35 minutes


  • 2

    pounds extra-large (21/25 per pound) shrimp, peeled and deveined (if desired; see headnote)

  • 2

    teaspoons lime juice, plus lime wedges to serve


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David J.
March 20, 2023
Get out the Mandoline
We just got a Benriner Mandoline (cut resistant glove highly recommended) which makes paper thin slices out of the cucumbers and onions, someone asked why the veggies weren’t even quick pickled-with thin Mandoline sliced onion and cucumber, it’s really not necessary.
Georgianne M.
December 31, 2022
Easy and delicious
One of the reviewers said this had no flavor. Maybe something was missed? I let the shrimp and lime juice sit for at least 15 minutes. I did cut back on the salt and the garlic just a bit, but not that much. I used a good quality tequila, maybe that mattered? My efforts paid off. I thought it was delicious. My husband loved it despite the fact that I may have added a bit much red pepper for him. It's so good with the onion and cucumber. I will make this again, and yes it's kind of like a shrimp scampi dish. But nothing overpowers the shrimp.
Tara F.
June 20, 2022
Very versatile and easy
This is delicious! We are still new to fancy cooking so the simple ingredients and quick preparation are perfect. I've served this with rice and even served with angel hair noodles to make a delicious shrimp Ramen type dish. It's very versatile and delicious!
Paloma C.
April 5, 2023
I omitted the 1/2 cup of water and they came out perfect!
Jared B.
June 5, 2022
Phenomenal change up on boiled shrimp recipes we've grown used to
Phenomenal change up on boiled shrimp recipes we've grown used to
Mark V.

I halved this recipe to make a hearty serving for 2, with white rice. It was good and very easy, although the smell of the reducing tequila was amazing and didn’t really translate to the final dish the way I would have liked (in that sense, maybe err on the side of a little less oil and butter?). It had a little kick with the red pepper flakes, but not too much. So go heavy handed if you want more kick. This reminds me of a fusion between shrimp scampi and Southern California, and it looked lovely on the plate. It’s well worth trying given how easy the recipe is, but it won’t be your “favorite” shrimp dish…just a solid recipe to try something easy and new. And that’s the whole point, right?

Julia I.

Absolutely delicious but only did 1.5 tsp of red pepper which was still plenty of heat! Definitely making again.