Recipe: Celebrate New Year like a Swede with this lobster cocktail

Lobster is the food of choice for Swedish New Year. This recipe for a lobster cocktail by food writer John Duxbury is a simple but tasty way to enjoy the favourite.

Recipe: Celebrate New Year like a Swede with this lobster cocktail
A Swedish lobster cocktail. Photo: Swedish food/John Duxbury

Svart guld (black gold), as Swedish lobster is often called, is caught off the west coast of Sweden. The lobster is said to be amongst the best in the world as a result of maturing slowly in the cold water. Sadly it is priced accordingly!

If your budget runs to svart guld you might also enjoy a “lobster safari”. They begin on the first Monday after 20th September and provide the opportunity for participants to venture out to sea and help with hauling up lobster pots. You can then pick your lobster and take it back to cook yourself or, if you are staying in a hotel, for a chef to cook it for you. An online search will show that there are several companies running lobster safaris.

My budget doesn’t stretch to the svart guld and so instead, if I fancy a treat, I buy some really nice British lobster. Of course, it is still expensive (usually they are about £15 each), but they are wonderful for a special occasion. And a lobster cocktail makes one of the finest starters that it is possible to imagine. John Duxbury


8-12 asparagus spears
100 g(1 cup)lettuce leaves, roughly shredded
4-8 button mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 small tomatoes, cored and sliced
2 small cooked lobsters
paprika (optional)


4 tbsp mayonnaise
2 tbsp gräddfil or soured cream
1 tsp brandy
¼ tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp chilli sauce
salt, to taste
cayenne pepper, to taste


4 lemon wedges
4 dill sprigs


1. Break the ends off the asparagus spears and discard the tough bottoms. Rinse the tops thoroughly to wash any grit off.

2. Cook the spears for 2 minutes in lightly salted boiling water. Drain thoroughly and then refresh in ice-cold water. (This helps preserve the colour and prevents them continuing to cook.)

3. When cold dry the spears thoroughly with kitchen paper. Cut off the top 5 cm (2”) and keep for a garnish. Roughly chop the rest.

4. Mix the chopped asparagus, lettuce, mushroom slices and tomatoes. Divide the mixture between four dishes or cocktail glasses.

5. Remove the meat from the lobster bodies and roughly chop. Place on top of the lettuce mixture.

6. Mix the dressing ingredients and season to taste with salt and cayenne pepper. Pour the dressing over the lobster. (You might not need it all.)

7. Crack the claws and use them to garnish the cocktails.

8. Dip the end of the asparagus spears in paprika (optional) and then add these to the cocktails as a garnish.

9. Finally garnish with lemon wedges and sprigs of dill.

Recipe courtesy of John Duxbury, founder and editor of Swedish Food.