Although common sailors traditionally survived on hard tack and grog throughout lengthy sea voyages, the officers’ table has always been graced with finer fare. 

Whether you embark on an all-expenses paid (by you) five-course gourmet dinner or are inviting the crew for a few drinks in the captain’s lounge, sail through the soiree by offering gustatory drinkable and edible delights. 

This menu has been crafted to complement our Nautical theme party ideas by incorporating maritime colors, icons, and tastes of the sea.   

Hors D’oeuvres 

Marinated Shrimp with Snow Pea Sails

Advance prep:  1-2 days before the party (required)
Marinated Shrimp with Snow Pea Sails
Last-minute prep:  Add snow pea sails up to 4 hours before.
Level: Intermediate
Makes 30 Hors d'oeuvres

  • 1-1/2 lbs large shrimp (30), peeled & deveined
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1/3 cup sesame oil
  • 1 large garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 15-20 snow peas
Steps to prepare:

  1. Cook shrimp in boiling water until pink, 2 to 3 minutes.
  2. Drain shrimp and immerse in cold water to cool & prevent overcooking.
  3. Drain again and put in a glass or stainless steel bowl.
  4. Whisk together vinegar, oil, garlic, ginger, salt & pepper.
  5. Pour over shrimp and stir to coat.
  6. Cover and refrigerate 1 to 2 days, stirring at least every 8 hours.
  7. Up to 4 hours before serving, string the snow peas and blanch in boiling water for 30 seconds.
  8. Drain and immediately immerse in ice water to chill.
  9. Drain well.
  10. Cut each snow pea in half crosswise to create two pieces that look like sails.
  11. Insert a toothpick from the cut end along the straight edge of the snow pea to peak out of the top like a sailboat mast.
  12. Insert a snow pea sail into each shrimp and serve.
Smoked Salmon Canapes

Serve up a slice of smoked salmon atop a crusty bite of artisan bread accompanied by a rich spread of whipped chive butter. We suggest Irish soda or pumpernickel breads, as the flavorful boldness of the rye and caraway are balanced by the smokiness of the salmon and buttery spread for an toothsome treat. 
Prep Time: 15 minutes 
Level: Very Easy 
Makes 16 pieces 

  • Bread knife
  • Medium mixing bowl
  • Eggbeater or kitchen mixer
  • Paring knife
  • 1 loaf Irish Soda or pumpernickel bread
  • 8 ounces smoked salmon, sliced
  • 1 stick butter, softened*
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons chopped chives
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Fresh dill sprigs, for garnish
  1. Slice the bread into 1/4-inch thick slices with a serrated bread knife.
  2. Cut slices into sixteen 2-inch rectangles.
  3. Add room temperature butter, chives, cheese, and garlic into a medium mixing bowl and whip with a hand-held egg beater until fluffy. Optionally, you can use a standard electric kitchen mixer whisk attachment.
  4. Spread 1/2 tablespoon of the butter mixture on each rectangle.
  5. Top with a piece of smoked salmon, and garnish with a sprig of fresh dill.
*If preferred, use the same amount of regular or reduced-fat cream cheese as a substitute.   

Make your own Irish Soda Bread:   

Shrimp Cocktail

There is nothing more elegant than shrimp cocktail served in a martini glass; it’s our go-to party favorite. If serving as an appetizer for a cocktail party, you may prefer to arrange the shrimp on a platter garnished with lemon slices and parsley. 

Serve over ice to keep the shrimp fresh. The recipe is easily doubled or tripled for larger gatherings.   

Prep Time: 45 min 
Cook Time: 8 min 
Level: Easy 
Makes 4 servings 

  • Scissors or serrated paring knife
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Baking sheet or broiler pan
  • Cooking tongs
  • Martini glass or platter for serving
  • 1-1/2 lb. shell-on shrimp, 21-25 count
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Fresh black pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups ice
Cocktail sauce:
  • 1 (14-1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1/2 cup prepared chili sauce
  • 4 tablespoons prepared horseradish
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Garnishes (optional):
  • Fresh parsley
  • Lemon slices
  1. Butterfly the shrimp by making an incision down the backside of the shrimp using scissors or a serrated knife.
  2. Remove the black intestinal tract and rinse, leaving the shells on.
  3. Combine ingredients for the brine in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Add shrimp to the brine, and refrigerate for 25 minutes.
  5. After shrimp are chilled, remove them from the brine, rinse and dry thoroughly.
  6. In a large bowl, toss the shrimp with olive oil, pepper, and Cajun seasoning.
  7. Place a baking sheet or broiler pan under the oven broiler, and heat for 5 minutes.
  8. Place marinated shrimp on the hot baking sheet or broiler pan, then broil for 2 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven and turn shrimp to the uncooked side using a pair of tongs.
  10. Return the shrimp to the oven for 1 minute. 
  11. After removing from oven, transfer shrimp to a container and refrigerate. 
  12. Arrange on platter or martini glasses, and garnish if desired.   Read more at: 

Melon & Prosciutto Sailboats

This tasty appetizer makes a splash with the delightful ship-themed design and blends succulent flavors from the Mediterranean.   
Prep Time: 15 min 
Level: Very Easy 
Makes 24 pieces 

  • Paring knife
  • Wooden skewers
  • 1 medium honeydew melon
  • 12 slices prosciutto (about 6 ounces total)
  • 24 Bamboo skewers
  1. Seed the honeydew melon, remove the rind, and slice into 24 half-inch thick pieces.
  2. Halve the prosciutto slices, shaping into rectangular pieces.
  3. Feed the skewer through the top and bottom of the piece of prosciutto, and stick into the melon slice “ship” as the “mast & sail.”


One thing sailors and land-lubbers have in common is a fondness for socializing over choice adult beverages. What better way to say “Anchors Aweigh” than by offering a signature cocktail as the party leaves the port. 

Here are two tasty recipes that have wide appeal and are easy to pre-mix to really wow the crowd.   

Tidal Wave   

  • 1 part gin
  • 1 part light rum
  • 1 part vodka
  • 1 part peach schnapps
  • 4 parts orange juice
  • 4 parts pineapple juice
  • 1 dash grenadine syrup
  1. Mix all ingredients and adjust for taste.
  2. Serve in a highball glass or double old-fashioned glass.
  3. Garnish with a skewered orange or pineapple wedge and maraschino cherry.
U.S.S. Margarita Jello Shots 

Prep Time: 20 min 
Cook Time: 4 hr 
Level: Easy 
Makes 20 Jello shots 

  • Medium saucepan
  • Stirring spoon
  • Clear shooter cups
  • Refrigerator trays
  • Flag picks or toothpicks & paper
  • 1/3 Cup Water
  • 2/3 Cup Roses Lime Juice
  • 1-2 Tbls. Sugar or Agave Nectar, to taste
  • 2 Envelopes Plain Gelatin
  • 1/2 Cup Blue Curacao
  • 3/4 Cup Agave Tequila, Clear or Silver
  • Mandarin orange slices (canned or fresh)
  • Nautical flag picks (optional) ~OR~
  • Sheets of paper (white or Nautical icons) + toothpicks
  1. Pour water, lime juice, and sugar/agave in a medium saucepan, then sprinkle in the gelatin.
  2. Allow mixture to soak at room temperature for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Heat over low heat until the gelatin is dissolved, stirring constantly.
  4. Remove from heat, and stir in the Blue Cuacao and tequila.
  5. Pour the mixture to fill clear shooter cups 1/3 of its height.
  6. Refrigerate on trays until fully set (4 hours minimum).
  7. Paper & Toothpick Sail Method: Take paper and begin to cut out half circles. Then, fold each half circle cutout in half to form quarter circles. Along the inside spine of your fold, lay a couple of beads of hot glue. Press the top portion of the a bamboo cocktail stick into the glue, so that it runs parallel along the spine of the fold. Repeat this process for the number of jello cups you were able to yield.
  8. Skewer mandarin orange slices with paper sails or Nautical flags so that 1/4” of pick protrudes from the thick side of the fruit.
  9. Press the “boat” into the jello gently so that it sits upright in each cup.

Dinner Menu 

A Nautical dinner party is the perfect excuse to indulge in seafood delicacies accompanied by choice table wines. If selecting an exotic and gourmet menu, choose a modestly priced but decent table wine as the company will be too blown away by the spread to notice anything fancier. 

  • Start off with an elegant shrimp cocktail arranged in a martini glass for each guest. 
  • Then roll out a rich and spicy crab bisque accompanied by a piece of crusty French bread for a stunning first course. 
  • Follow up with a cool and tangy strawberry spinach salad to tone down the spice, incorporating the sweetness of strawberries and crunchy almonds along with a vinegary zing for a refreshing cleanse of the palate. 
  • A main course of steamed lobster is a divine departure from common cuisine, and a butter sauce featuring a hint of lemon zest enhances the naturally succulent meat. 
  • Show off your culinary creativity by dressing up vegetables into decadent sides like creamy twice-baked potatoes, seasoned buttery corn on the cob, and delicious Spinach Madeline inspired by the Louisiana French tradition. 
  • Top off the evening with scoops of raspberry and lemon sorbet garnished with fresh blueberries and mint leaves for a truly spectacular finish.    
First Course: Crab Bisque 

Prep Time: 15 min 
Cook Time: 30 min 
Level: Easy 
Makes 8 servings 

  • Large saucepan
  • Spatula
  • Glass measuring cup
  • Small mixing bowl
  • Food processor
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 1-1/3 quarts chicken, vegetable, or seafood stock
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 whole bay leaves (dried)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3-4 cups corn cut from the cob
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 16 ounces lump crabmeat
  1. Heat butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Stir in onion; cook until soft and translucent.
  3. Pour in stock and bring to a boil.
  4. Add corn and seasonings, and simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Add 1 cup of soup to a food processor, add half-and-half, then puree for 30 seconds.
  6. In a small mixing bowl, stir together flour and milk, then add slowly to simmering soup while stirring constantly. Continue to stir and let simmer for 1 to 2 minutes.
  7. Stir in pureed mixture and return to simmer.
  8. Reduce heat to lowest setting and add crab meat, allowing to cook for 5 minutes.

Second Course: Strawberry Spinach Salad 

Prep Time: 10 min 
Cook Time: 1 hour 
Level: Easy 
Makes 4 servings 

  • Measuring cups & spoons
  • Paring knife
  • Medium mixing bowl
  • Large serving bowl
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon minced onion
  • 10 ounces fresh baby spinach
  • 1 quart strawberries
  • 1/4 cup blanched & slivered almonds
  1. Rinse and thoroughly dry baby spinach and strawberries.
  2. Cut off the green tops and cut strawberries into thin slices.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sugar, olive oil, vinegar, paprika, Worcestershire sauce and onion.
  4. Cover and refrigerate dressing for one hour.
  5. In a large bowl, combine the spinach, strawberries and almonds.
  6. Ten to fifteen minutes before serving, toss the salad with the dressing and refrigerate.

Third Course: Steamed Lobster** 

Cook Time: refer to weight chart 
Level: Easy 

  • Large pot
  • Tablespoon
  • Tongs
  • Optional: Steaming rack
  • 1 live lobster for each guest
  • Sea salt
  • Seafood crackers
  1. Fill a large pot with two inches of water.
  2. Add 2 tablespoons of sea salt for each quart of water.
  3. Over high heat, bring water to a rolling boil and add live lobsters head first one at a time, then cover tightly. Optional: Place lobsters on a steaming rack just above the boiling water.
  4. Refer to cooking times below:
  • 1 lb.-1-1/4 lb. lobster: 10-12 minutes 
  • 1-1/2 lb. lobster: 12-14 minutes 
  • 2 lb. lobster: 16-18 minutes 
  • 2-1/2-3 lb. lobster: 18-20 minutes 
  • 5 lb. lobster: 20-24 minutes 
**Do not overcook. Lobster is done when the outer shell is bright red and the meat is white. Lobsters will continue to cook after you take them out of the pot. Place lobsters in a bowl of ice before cracking to make them cool enough to handle.

Have live lobsters delivered to your door:

Lemon-Butter Dipping Sauce 

Prep time: 5 min 
Cook time: 15 min 
Level: Very Easy 
Makes 1-1/4 cups 

  • Small saucepan
  • Glass measuring cup
  • Small mixing bowl
  • Spoon
  • 3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 lemons, zested
  1. Heat butter over medium-low heat in a small saucepan until melted, about 5 minutes.
  2. Pour into a 2-cup measuring glass.
  3. Let the melted butter stand for 5 minutes.
  4. Scoop off the foam from the top of the butter with a spoon.
  5. Zest lemons into a small mixing bowl.
  6. Pour off the clarified butter (clear yellow liquid) over the lemon zest and discard the milk solids (lower white layer) left in the bottom of the glass.

Fourth Course: Vegetables   

Twice-Baked Potatoes 

Prep time: 15 min 
Cook time: 1 hr 15 min 
Level: Intermediate 
Makes 4 servings 

  • Large skillet
  • Spatula
  • Paring knife
  • Spoon
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Hand mixer
  • 4 baking potatoes
  • 8 slices bacon
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 8 green onions, chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Bake potatoes in preheated oven for 1 hour.
  3. Heat a large skillet on high heat and add raw bacon. Cook until brown on both sides.
  4. Drain bacon, then crumble and set aside.
  5. Allow potatoes to cool for 10 minutes after removing from oven.
  6. Slice potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop the flesh into a large mixing bowl, saving the skins.
  7. Add sour cream, milk, butter, salt, pepper, 1/2 cup cheese and 1/2 the green onions to the large mixing bowl containing the potato flesh. Mix with a hand mixer until well blended and creamy.
  8. Spoon the mixture back into the potato skins. Top each with remaining cheese, green onions and bacon.
  9. Bake for another 15 minutes, then serve immediately.

Seasoned Corn on the Cob 

Prep time: 5 min 
Cook time: Microwave - 16 min; Grill - 50 min 
Level: Easy 
Makes 4 servings 

  • Paring knife
  • Small mixing bowl
  • Butter knife
  • Optional: Grilling tongs
  • 8 ears corn in their husks
  • 4 fresh limes, quartered
  • Garlic butter
  • 1/2 cup grated cotija cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives, for garnish
Garlic Butter:
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, slightly softened
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 jalapeno or habanero pepper, seeded
  • 1/4 bunch fresh chives
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Combine butter, garlic, habanero, and chives in a food processor and process until smooth.
  2. Season the mixture with salt and pepper and set aside.
  1. Heat the unshucked ears of corn in the microwave on high heat according to the following times (maximum of 4 ears at a time):
  • 1 ear: 4 minutes
  • 2 ears: 8 minutes
  • 3 ears: 12 minutes
  • 4 ears: 16 minutes
  1. Cut off the top of the unshucked ears, then peel back the husks and remove the silks.
  2. Spread ears with butter mixture, sprinkle with cheese and lime juice and sprinkle with chopped chives to garnish.
  1. Preheat grill to medium heat.
  2. Microwave the ears of corn in their husks according to the following guide for easy removal of silks:
  • 1 ear: 1 1/2 minutes
  • 2 ears: 3 to 4 minutes
  • 3 ears: 5 to 6 minutes
  • 4 ears: 7 to 8 minutes
  1. Peel back the husks of the corn without breaking them off the end, then remove the silks.
  2. Re-cover the corn with the husks and soak in large bowl of cold water for 30 minutes.
  3. Remove corn from water and shake off excess.
  4. Place the corn on the grill, close the cover and grill for 10-12 minutes.
  5. Unwrap the grilled corn and spread with the garlic butter.
  6. Sprinkle with the cotija cheese and squeeze with lime and sprinkle with chopped chives to garnish.

Spinach Madeline 

Prep time: 15 min 
Cook time: 20 min 
Level: Intermediate 
Makes 6 servings 

  • Medium saucepan
  • Large saute pan
  • Measuring cups & spoons
  • Casserole dish
  • 2 packages frozen chopped spinach
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk*
  • 1/2 cup spinach liquor
  • 8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon celery salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • Ground red pepper
  • Salt
*May substitute whole or 2% milk   

  1. Cook spinach according to directions on package in a medium saucepan, then drain and reserve 1/2 cup liquid.
  2. Melt butter in a large saute pan over low heat.
  3. Stir in flour slowly and cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the onion and cook until soft and translucent.
  5. Stirring constantly, pour in the evaporated milk and reserved spinach liquid slowly.
  6. Cook until smooth and thick, continuing to stir.
  7. Add Worcestershire sauce, black pepper, celery salt, garlic salt, red pepper, and salt, to taste.
  8. Stir in cheese a little at a time, allowing to melt completely between batches.
  9. Add in the cooked spinach, and transfer into an oven-safe dish.
  10. Add breadcrumbs or French Onion crisps if desired. 
  11. Refrigerate overnight for optimal flavor, then reheat at 350 degrees covered with aluminum foil until bubbly.
Swizzle Tip: This recipe can be made up to 3 months ahead of time and frozen until the party date.

Fifth Course: Sorbet
  • Raspberry sorbet
  • Lemon sorbet
  • Fresh blueberries
  • Mint leaves, as garnish
  1. Using a melon-baller, place one scoop of raspberry and one scoop of lemon sorbet side by side in a dessert cup.
  2. Sprinkle with fresh or unthawed frozen blueberries.
  3. Add a sprig of fresh mint as garnish, if desired.

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