Jello shots are so easy that anyone can learn how to make them. They're delicious and sure to be a big hit at any party. You really cannot go wrong with these boozy little treats!
Sometimes called "jelly" shots, these can be made in any flavor you wish and you can spike them with your favorite liquor. Vodka and rum are the most popular options, but anything is possible. The basic formula for this popular shooter is just waiting for you to add a personal, creative touch.
This recipe is for a single 3-ounce box of gelatin, which is the most common size. It will make about 16 1-ounce shots and you can multiply the recipe to make more or to fit bigger cups.
- In a small bowl, combine the liquor and cold water and place this in the refrigerator so they become a consistent temperature.
- In a separate bowl, add the gelatin, then the boiling water. Stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved.
- Stir in the chilled liquor and cold water mix. Add food coloring if you want to enhance or change the color.
- Pour into shot glasses, molds, or a baking pan.
- Refrigerate until the liquid sets. It will take at least 2 hours, but overnight is recommended.
- Serve cold.
Small, plastic shot cups are perfect for service because the drinker can just squeeze the shot into their mouth. If you're taking these to a party, buy shot cups with lids to protect your creations.
If you serve the shots in glass, it's best to provide miniature spoons so guests can dig out the gelatin.
The sheet of gelatin is the easiest option and produces the least amount of waste. Any baking pan with sides will do, even a glass pie dish. Cut the set gelatin into portions and either lay them out on a serving tray or leave them in the dish for guests to grab as they wish. Set out small plates and napkins so things don't get too messy.
Convert Cocktails Into a Jelly Shot
You can transform almost any of your favorite cocktail recipes into a jelly shot. It can be a little tricky, but with experimentation, you can get a great tasting mix. The key is to maintain the original cocktail's proportions while keeping the volume of chilled liquid at 1 cup (8 ounces).
For example, in the margarita jelly shot, 1/4 cup water is mixed with 3 ounces of tequila, 1 ounce of triple sec, and 2 ounces lime juice. The margarita ingredients retain the ratio of the cocktail to keep the flavor true and equal 6 ounces, which is why the water is cut to 1/4 cup (2 ounces).
Tips and Tricks
There are many things you can do to customize your jello shots. Experiment with any of these ideas and be sure to start out with a test batch before increasing the recipe so you know if it will work out.
- Flavored Gelatin: Flavored gelatin is your best option and there are many to choose from. You can also use it to replace or enhance a certain flavor. In the margarita example, for instance, you can either let the lime juice stand alone, use lime-flavored gelatin to enhance the lime. Using a strawberry gelatin creates an imitation of the strawberry margarita.
- Unflavored Gelatin: Use unflavored gelatin when you want the other flavors to shine. Plain gelatin usually comes in 1/4-ounce envelopes, so you will need to use 12 to get 3 ounces. It is a good option when you want the cocktail's ingredients to make up the shot's flavor.
- Flavored Booze: Use flavored vodkas, rums, and tequilas to add or enhance flavors in your jello shots.
- Sweeten It Up: If your shot is too tart, counteract it by adding a little more sweetness. Simple syrup works best and can take the place of a portion of the water.
- Add Food Coloring: Some of the shots that use unflavored gelatin can look dull and boring. While the mix is still a liquid, you can change or enhance the color by adding small amounts of food coloring until you get the desired color.
- Colorful Shots: Distinguish different flavored shots by using different colors for each. For example, yellow is great for a banana daiquiri, red works well for a planter's punch, and blue is fantastic for a blue Hawaiian.
- Layer Your Gelatin: To make layers, begin by making one flavor of gelatin and fill cups one-half or one-third of the way full. Chill these until it's almost set (about 1 to 1 1/2 hours) before adding the next flavor. Repeat until you have completed your layers.
- Use Fruit Molds: The rinds of citrus fruits are fun molds for your shots. Cut limes or oranges in half and remove all of the fruit, leaving the peel intact. Fill this "bowl" with gelatin and allow it to set, then cut it into thirds or quarters for single-serve pieces. The candy corn oranges recipe offers great inspiration for this technique.
- Fruity Bits: Give your guests a fun surprise by adding small fruit to the gelatin before it sets up. Berries and pitted cherries are perfect for this.
Is Everclear a Good Idea?
Many people suggest using Everclear or another high-proof liquor in jello shots. However, for the best shots, you'll want to keep the liquor and the alcohol content in check. There are three reasons for this:
- A clear vodka tastes better than Everclear and these shots are supposed to taste good!
- More often than not, people are going to have a few jello shots along with other alcoholic drinks. Too many shots made with Everclear can send a person over the edge. If you want a stronger shot, just add more 80 proof liquor and cut some of the water; it will be enough.
- Since liquor has a different freezing point than water, you need to find a balance between the alcohol and the other liquids. Otherwise, your gelatin will not set up properly and may end up as a sloppy (though tasty) mess.
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