Category Archives: alcohol

Jell-O Jiggler Shots Part II: Star-spangled Photo-tutorial

This is how you say "America, Fuck Yeah!" in Jell-O shots

For this year’s patriotic, alcoholic Jell-O Jigglers, I decided to cut stars out of the bottom layer of Jell-O, fill the holes with a white gelatin mixture, and then replace the stars on the top layer and pour white gelatin around them. So the top and bottom layers both have blue and white stars and they sandwich a layer of red. Here’s the bottom, before I inverted it:

it was actually a little prettier this way--I accidentally dissolved it a little too much in the process of unmolding.

By the numbers:

  • 2 small (3 oz) or 1 large (6 oz) box Berry Blue Jell-Othe lime Jell-O ended up in a separate pan, infused with limoncello
  • 2 small (3 oz) or 1 large (6 oz) box red Jell-O (I used Strawberry)
  • 8 packages (7 g each, about 2 oz total) plain gelatin
  • 14 oz. (1 can) sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 2/3 cups water (about 37 oz)
  • 2 2/3 cups vodka (about 21 oz or 630 ml)
  • 1 cup (8 oz) blue curacao
  • 1 cup (8 oz) raspberry pucker
  • 2/3 cup (5.3 oz) triple sec

That means it’s 11-12% alcohol or ~23 proof (107.3 oz total, 12.4 oz of which are alcohol—21 oz vodka @ 40% + 16 oz liqueur @ 15% + 5.3 oz liqueur @ 30%). So it’s roughly comparable to most wine or mixed drinks and approximately 18-27 servings of alcohol.

Layer #1: BLUE

Jell-O and gelatin combined like a blue, boozy reflecting pool: behold my kitchen shelves!

Whisk together the first color of Jell-O (6 oz.) with 2 packages of plain gelatin. Add 2 cups boiling water and stir to dissolve. Cool slightly (10-15 min) and add 1 cup vodka and 1 cup clear or matching liqueur up to 40-proof (I only had 2/3 cup blue curacao so I added a little of the red pucker, which gave it a slightly midnight hue, and some triple sec). Chill until set—at least 30 minutes.

If your refrigerator isn’t level—mine isn’t, you can stick flat things under the corners to try to get the Jell-O to set in an even layer. I used pieces of individually-wrapped American cheese. 

i know, it's "fake" cheese or "plastic" cheese or what have you; I still think it melts better than anything else I've found

Layer #2: WHITE

 gelatin mixed with cold water after a few minutes, "bloomed" meaning the gelatin has absorbed the water and softened

Empty two packages of plain gelatin into a bowl and add 6 Tablespoons of cold water. Let it “bloom” for 5 minutes.

Then add 2/3 cup boiling water, 1/3 cup vodka, 1/3 cup triple sec (or other clear liqueur), and 6-7 oz. sweetened condensed milk (about 1/2 a can). Let it cool.

Meanwhile, cut shapes out of the first layer and return them to cold storage.

I used a cookie cutter dipped in water to make the shapes and then lifted them out gently by easing each corner out one by one with a butter knife

Pour the white gelatin into the star-holes and then in a thin layer across the top of the entire blue layer. Chill until set, at least 30 min.

or just fill the stars i wanted a thin white layer separating the blue from the red

Layer #3: RED

Repeat step one with the second color. This time it really has to be cool so it doesn’t melt the other layers when you pour it on top. So, combine 6oz. Jell-O mix with 2 packages gelatin, add 2 cups boiling water, let cool 25-30 min, add 1 cup vodka and 1 cup liqueur.

Pour gently (I pour over the back of a spoon to distribute the impact a little more) over the set layers. Chill until set—at least 30 min.

red Jell-O and gelatin dissolved in water I thought about making the red into 2 thinner layers separated by white layers...y'know, like stripes on a flag. but that seemed like too much fuss, even for me.

Layer #4: WHITE

Repeat step two: “bloom” 2 packages gelatin in 6 T. cool water for 5 min, add 2/3 cup boiling water, add 1/3 cup vodka and 1/3 cup triple sec or other clear liqueur. If you want a thin white layer separating the colors, pour 4-6 oz of the white mixture over the set layers, tilting to get it to cover the surface of the colored layer, and chill that until set before preceding.

you can still see the red through the white the return of the stars

Then, place the cut pieces on top of the set layers and gently pour the rest of the white mixture around them. Chill until set.

I am completely unenthused about how Jell-O tastes, but I really love how it looks. I suppose I could improve the flavor by making my own with fruit purees or juices and gelatin, but I haven't gotten that ambitious yet. 

Cut and serve directly from the pan. Or, to invert and see the opposite side, immerse the pan in warm water for a few seconds (5-10 should be plenty). Not too hot or too long, because it will start to melt quickly—10 seconds in near-boiling water was too much. Place a serving platter upside down over the pan and flip. Immediately return to the refrigerator to re-firm.

Dipping the knife in hot water before cutting helps make cleaner cuts, but ultimately it’s still Jell-O. It wants to be wiggly and a little uneven, clearly “homemade” even if it comes from a box.  happy birthday, america, bottoms up!

Happy Birthday America Jell-O Jiggler Shots

grainy cameraphone pictures from a year ago, hooray! the red was strawberry + raspberry pucker and vodka, the blue was some kind of berry + blue curacao and vodka, the white had triple sec and vodka

Jell-O shots are often prepared in individual molds, which is handy for portion control and ease of consumption, but (obviously) requires that you have individual molds. You can, of course, make alcoholic Jell-O in one big sheet just like people generally do with non-alcoholic Jell-O, but the alcohol interferes with how the gelatin sets, which can make un-molded Jell-O shots a real mess to serve. If you really want to make alcoholic Jell-O that you can cut into pieces and serve as finger-food (or finger-drinks?), you need to add more gelatin.

I worked out ratios of Jell-O mix, plain gelatin, liquor, and liqueur last year for a 4th of July party, and now I don’t remember all the sources I consulted or factors I weighed. But I did record the recipe I settled on: 1 package of plain gelatin per 3 oz. Jell-O mix (a small box) combined with 1 cup boiling water, 1/2 cup liquor (80 proof) and 1/2 cup liqueur (40 proof). That yields a significantly higher-proof Jell-O shot than the traditional recipe, which calls for 5 oz. liquor per 3 oz. package, but it still sets up firmly enough to cut cleanly and eat with your hands.

blue curacao and vodka in the berry layers, limoncello and vodka in the lemon layers, triple sec and vodka in the condensed milk layers Flavor and design-wise, the possibilities are virtually endless. You can create the patriotic “stained glass” effect pictured above by making red and blue Jell-O in separate pans, chilling them well, cutting them into cubes and then pouring a mixture of sweetened condensed milk, gelatin, water, and alcohol over them (recipe below). That obviously also lends itself well to things like team colors or other holiday combinations.

You can create a layered effect by making small batches and letting each one set before you add the next one—a technique that lends itself well to rainbow pride shots. The Michigan-themed cubes on the right that look vaguely like expensive MOMA paperweights (ht: Ryan Hennessey) were created by alternating small batches of berry and lemon Jell-O with the sweetened condensed gelatin shot recipe in a 9×13 pan in 30 min. intervals. Other potentially-helpful tips: I made the mixture for each layer right after putting the previous one in the refrigerator so it could cool to room temp before I poured it on top, and I poured the new layers over the back of a spoon to soften their impact on the “set” layers.

If you had the time and inclination, you could make layers within “stained glass” pieces or cover “stained glass” pieces with different colored layers. But if that all seems like too much fuss, you can also just make single colors. And if you like, you can cut them into whimsical shapes. I’m going to make them again for a 4th of July picnic this year, although I haven’t decided what colors or styles, except that it will have to involve the seasonally-inappropriate box of lime that’s been in the cupboard for ages and the bottle of Raspberry Pucker we’ll never use for anything else. I may put pictures up after they’re done, but thought for once I’d try to post a holiday-appropriate recipe before the holiday in case any one else’s 4th of July might be enhanced by alcoholic gel-food. they do bend and wobble a bit, they're still just gelatin, but they will stay together well enough to transport them and you can leave them at room temp for hours without them melting into unappealing goo

Happy 4th of July to all who celebrate it. I wish you exactly as much grilled tube meat, sparkly exploding stuff, and patriotic kitsch as you desire (even if that’s none).

Recipe: Jello Jiggler Shots

Colored Jell-O Jiggler Shots:

  • 1 3oz box Jell-O
  • 1 envelope plain gelatin
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup 80-proof liquor
  • 1/2 cup 40-proof liqueur

1. Whisk together the Jell-O powder and plain gelatin.

2. Add the cup of boiling water and stir until dissolved. Cool to lukewarm, stirring occasionally.

3. Add liquor and liqueur

Makes a 1/2” layer in an 8×8 pan or a 1/4” layer in a 9×13 pan. Double if desired–can use 6 oz. box of Jell-O.

White Gelatin Shots:

  • 1 envelope plain gelatin
  • 3 T. cold water
  • 1/3 cup boiling water
  • 1/3 cup liquor/liqueur (I used half vodka and half triple-sec)
  • 100 ml (~3 oz) sweetened condensed milk

1. Sprinkle gelatin on cold water and allow to soak for 5 min.

2. Add boiling water and stir well. Cool, stirring occasionally.

3. Add liquor/liqueur and stir, add sweetened condensed milk and stir.

Use one recipe for thin layer in 9×13 pan. Double to cover 2 batches of colored Jell-O cut in “stained glass” pieces in an 8×8 pan. Triple to cover 4 batches of “stained glass” Jell-O in a 9×13 pan.

Non-alcoholic White Gelatin:

  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 2 envelopes gelatin
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk

1. Sprinkle gelatin on cold water and allow to soak for 5 min.

2. Add boiling water and stir well. Let cool to lukewarm, stirring occasionally.

3. Add sweetened condensed milk.

Makes enough to cover 4 batches “stained glass” Jell-O in 9×13. Halve for 8×8. Make 1/3 or 1/4 for thin layer in 9×13.

For non-alcoholic colored Jell-O, follow the instructions on box.

so this is 2 small-box (3 oz) batches of blue, 2 small-box batches of lemon, and 3 single batches of white. Feeds...or intoxicates a crowd.