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These garlicky, spicy “drunken shrimp” get big, bold flavor from a liberal pour of tequila

Drunken Shrimp with Tequila (Camarones Borrachos)

Appears in May-June 2022

35 minutes

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Drunken Shrimp with Tequila (Camarones Borrachos)

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


  1. 01
    In a large bowl, stir together the shrimp, lime juice and ½ teaspoon salt; set aside. In a liquid measuring cup or small bowl, combine the tequila and 1 cup water.
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!
Beth S.
June 8, 2022
Astonishingly one-note
This dish SERIOUSLY lacks depth of flavor. Why so little lime juice? Why is the tequila watered down? How did 6 CLOVES OF GARLIC lend so little flavor? This dish tasted like 2 things: shrimp and salt. A squeeze of lime at the end would make it passable, but I certainly won't make it again. And I'm baffled by the cucumber and red onion, which (not even treated to a quick pickle) add NOTHING to the dish. A rare Milk Street miss.
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.

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