Swamp Water Surprise Cocktail

Swamp Water Surprise Cocktail
A fun idea for Halloween, the swamp water surprise adds lumpy gelatin to the cocktail glass.

S&C Design Studios

  • Total: 3 mins
  • Prep: 3 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Gelatin: 30 mins
  • Yield: 1 cocktail (1 serving)

Things get a little creepy with this unique rum cocktail. The swamp water surprise is, admittedly, more gimmick than anything else, but that's what makes it ideal for Halloween parties.

The cocktail itself is a rather pleasant mix of rum, orange liqueur, and citrus juices. The optional "surprise" is a plasma-like substance made of vodka-spiked gelatin. It floats in the murky-colored liquid and can be any color or flavor you like—there really are no rules with this one.


  • For the "Plasma" (Optional)
  • 1 3-ounce package gelatin (any flavor)
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 3/4 cup ​vodka
  • For the Cocktail
  • 2 ounces rum
  • 1/4 ounce ​curaçao (orange or blue)
  • 1 ounce ​orange juice
  • 1/2 ounce lemon juice
  • Optional: 2 tablespoons gelatin "plasma"

Steps to Make It

Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, this cocktail is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and assembly.

Make the "Plasma"

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a mixing bowl, dissolve the gelatin in boiling water.

  3. Stir in the vodka and set the bowl in the freezer.

  4. Just before the gelatin sets up completely, whip it with a whisk to form lumps.

  5. Let it set for at least 5 minutes.


  • It will not take long for the gelatin to set in the freezer (jello shots typically set up after 2 hours in the fridge). Check it after about 20 minutes, then about every 10 minutes after that, depending on how well it's set up.
  • If you want to add to the murkiness, use orange juice with a lot of pulp for the cocktail.

Make the Swamp Water Surprise

  1. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, pour the rum, curaçao, and lemon and orange juices.

  2. Shake well.

  3. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

  4. If using, carefully spoon the plasma into the glass.

  5. Serve and enjoy!

Recipe Variations

  • You can change the color of this cocktail by your choice in curaçao. Pouring orange curaçao will result in an orange-colored drink. If you go with blue curaçao, it will end up an aqua color.
  • Choose the color of gelatin to complete the look of your cocktail. No matter the color, any fruity flavor will work out just fine, so have fun designing this drink to fit your party's style.
  • Switch to vodka in the cocktail or rum in the gelatin if you'd like to make this drink with a single liquor. Tequila would be a fun option, too.
  • Pineapple juice or a blend of fruit juices are good substitutes for the orange juice.

How Strong Is a Swamp Water Surprise?

The swamp water surprise is a pretty strong drink. Though it's just an estimate and will vary, if you choose to slurp up the gelatin along with the drink, the alcohol content may be as high as 26 percent ABV (52 proof). That's over half the strength of the average shot of rum.

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