Oyster Shooters

Oyster shooters. Part cocktail, part nosh, icy cold and 100% fun. They make a festive appetizer to start the evening and welcomed hair-of-the-dog pick-me-up the next morning. These category-defying shots are quick and easy to make and should be slurped, heartily, in a single gulp — chewing is optional.

Having grown up near the Chesapeake Bay, oysters are in my DNA. I love oysters on the half shell, or fried for oysters oreganata and quickly poached in milk for oyster stew. They showed up on our holiday table in the form of oyster dressing and at backyard oyster roasts.

In this recipe, the slippery bivalves are highlighted in a combination that’s part hors d’oeuvres, and part frat-night revelry. I present the oyster shooter.

Oyster shooters are made with raw oysters, cocktail sauce and vodka, served icy cold in a shot glass. They are bracing and fresh, sliding down your throat in a gustatory, hedonistic buzz.

Newsletter Signup
Join our community of food lovers!

Get my latest recipes, helpful kitchen tips and more good things each week in your inbox.

Why you’ll love them:

  • You can use pre-shucked oysters in their liqueur or shuck them yourself.
  • The easy cocktail sauce can be made in approximately 2 minutes.
  • You can use any vodka you like to drink.
  • Assemble the oyster shooters in about 5 minutes.
  • They’re great for an instant party.


The ingredients needed to make oyster shooters.
  • Oysters – you can shuck your own oysters or buy them already shucked in a pint or quart container. Don’t throw away the oyster liquor, you’ll want a little for each shooter. If you’re shucking oysters for the first time, check out the video below that shows how to do it.
  • Cocktail Sauce – you can buy cocktail sauce, but I’ve included a recipe to make your own. It’s just four ingredients: Ketchup, Horseradish, Worcestershire Sauce, & Lemon, and it takes two minutes to assemble.
  • Vodka – use your favorite brand. Each shooter has about 1 tablespoon or half an ounce of alcohol — though you can adjust it to your tastes.

How to make oyster shooters:

shuck the oysters.
  1. Shuck the oysters and transfer the bivalves and their liquor to a bowl. (You can also use a pint of pre-shucked oysters and their liquor) – be sure to remove any sand, grit, or bits of the shell so your oyster cocktail goes down smoothly.
Make the cocktail sauce.

2. Make the cocktail sauce by combining the ketchup, horseradish, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce in a small bowl.

3. Stir to combine the ingredients. Taste the sauce for seasonings and adjust as necessary. If you like it spicy, add a few dashes of hot sauce.

4. Arrange the oysters, shot glasses, cocktail sauce and vodka to assemble the oyster shooters.

5. Add an oyster and oyster liquor (that’s the natural brine from the shellfish) to a shot glass.

6. Top the oysters with 1½ teaspoons cocktail sauce.

7. Top with a tablespoon of cold vodka and enjoy.

Oyster shooters in a row.


  • Oyster shooters are best when served ice cold. Chill the cocktail sauce, oysters in the fridge, and vodka in the freezer before assembling the oyster shots.
  • Chilling the shot glasses helps, too.
  • For drunken oysters, use one ounce vodka for each oyster shooter.


  • Use store-bought cocktail sauce or make the recipe in the recipe card below.
  • Add a dash of tabasco sauce to the oyster shooters, or swap plain vodka for pepper-flavored or your favorite spicy vodka.
  • Swap lime juice for lemon in the cocktail sauce – for a slightly different citrus vibe.
  • Serve with a beer chaser.
  • Use tequila blanco instead of vodka.
  • Rim the shot glasses with Old Bay seasoning, Creole seasoning or a combination of celery seed and rimming salt.
  • Swap cocktail sauce for bloody mary mix.
  • Serve with seasoned oyster crackers for a killer combo.
  • Garnish with a thin slice of lemon wedge on the rims or a sprig of fresh parsley or cilantro (optional).


Can I make oyster shots ahead?

You can assemble oyster shots an hour before, keeping them refrigerated until you’re ready to serve.

Can I freeze oyster shooters?

Since vodka doesn’t freeze, no. Besides, they’re best enjoyed fresh.

More oyster recipes you’ll love:

Tried this recipe? Leave a rating and review.

Your comments and shares are invaluable to me and the thousands of readers who use this site daily. If you've made the recipe, leave a star rating and review. We want to hear how you liked it.

We'd love it if you shared the recipe with your friends on social media!

Print Pin
5 from 2 votes

Oyster Shooters

Part appetizer, part cocktail – oyster shooters are a simple, festive treat perfect for parties, game day or foray to a fun night.
Author: Lisa Lotts
Course Appetizer, Drinks
Cuisine American
Keyword oysters, vodka
Dietary Restrictions Dairy-Free, Egg Free, Gluten-Free, Pescatarian
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 6


  • shot glasses


  • 24 oysters shucked or bought by the pint from a reputable fish monger. Be sure they’re cold
  • ½ cup ketchup chilled
  • 3 tablespoons prepared horseradish Check the expiration date, chilled
  • tablespoons lemon juice fresh squeezed is best
  • ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ cup vodka chilled



  • In a bowl, combine ½ cup ketchup, 3 tablespoons prepared horseradish, 1½ tablespoons lemon juice, ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce and stir together until combined.
  • Add an oyster to each shot glass, top with ½ tablespoon of cocktail sauce and 1 tablespoon of vodka.
  • Tilt the shot glass back and enjoy!


YouTube video


Note: you can customize the amounts you add to each shot — if you like more or less cocktail sauce, or more or less vodka (lightweights, like me might do ½ tablespoon per shot — the better to have more…


Calories: 74.07kcal | Carbohydrates: 6.83g | Protein: 0.63g | Fat: 0.18g | Saturated Fat: 0.04g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.06g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.03g | Trans Fat: 0.002g | Cholesterol: 2.24mg | Sodium: 224.4mg | Potassium: 91.45mg | Fiber: 0.32g | Sugar: 5.04g | Vitamin A: 105.83IU | Vitamin C: 4.2mg | Calcium: 11.26mg | Iron: 0.39mg

Pin it for later!

A pin to save for later.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

One Comment

  1. 5 stars
    I’ve only had oyster shooters out at restaurants — had no idea how easy it was to make at home. I bought fresh shucked oysters at my local seafood store and served these as an app/drink for a dinner party with friends. Huge hit! Everyone loved them — and asked for the recipe.