Saturday, June 20, 2015

Next Level Jell-O Shots

Hey all, most of us love jello shots or have loved jello shots. This post assumes you've at least had a crack at making them in the past. You've probably learned that using pure vodka in place of the water creates a mushy unappetizing shot and that it should be split fifty-fifty with water. You've probably also learned that other spirits work amazingly well in a jello shot. Tequila, triple sec, and lime jello are a natural blend. You might also know that some jello mixes work great with milk for a creamier hold and a less transparent color. Most jello brands products work well together, but some more advanced recipes will use straight unflavored gelatin. These are some tricks that you may not have thought of in your typical playing around. 

Glow-in-the-Dark Jello Shots
This was probably this first real jello shot trick I learned. For the record these to not glow in the dark like those stickers on your childhood bedroom ceiling. They glow under blacklight, like the poster in your college dorm room. I had made jello shots before, in college, but the first time I decided to dig into what other people were doing I found this little trick. The trick is to simply incorporate a luminous nontoxic chemical into the mix. The best one I find used is Quinine, commonly found in tonic water. Many people opt for a normal mixture of 1 part boiling water to 1 part spirit to make the flavor of the jello more palatable. Simply replace the water with flat boiling tonic water, and you'll have a great treat for your next black light party. 

Molded Jello Shots
When you were first introduced to jello as a kid, you probably made Jello Jigglers. Pouring jello into any container will allow it to set into that shape. Many people will use cookie cutters as fun shapes for kids. Occasionally, depending on the material of the mold you may need to spray it with some cooking spray to allow it to be removed easily. For Halloween, you can buy brain-shaped molds so that kids can poke and eat a bit of jiggly brain. Switch that to include some rum and you have yourself an adult treat. I've seen other tricks done in this manner. Add a bit more powdered gelatin and you can keep it firmer once it hardens. You can use popsicle molds provided the mix is firm enough. The same trick applies to the novelty ice cube trays. you can have shot glasses made of jello and even penis shaped gelatin. This Video might be the greatest idea I've ever seen that I could apply to a boozy drink.

A spin on this that has been really erupting is the idea of jello shots in fruit. cut an orange in half and cut out all the meat without puncturing the skin and you have a handy cup. Once the jello hardens you can even slice the orange and be reminded of grade school soccer practice. You can do this with limes, as well. If you add extra gelatin powder, you can use this trick on watermelon and slice it to create great big slices of jello, great for picnics so long as it doesn't get too hot. I've even seen strawberries used. Take the stem out and hollow out as much as you can to form little cups. I recommend cutting a bit of the tip off so it doesn't wobble when you put it in the fridge to cool. 

Layered Jello Shots
This is actually the easiest trick I've ever heard. Make a batch of jello, pour it into a tall enough vessel, chill it. Make another, different batch, pour that over the old batch, and continue the cycle. This trick is even easier than making a pousse cafe, as you're just pouring liquid over a solid. Don't let the layers chill for too long otherwise they won't bond together and when you remove them they may tear apart at the seems. Some flavors, of course, blend better than others. If you are using the type of mixture that uses milk to be careful with your flavor pairings. An orange creamsicle works great. but some liqueur flavors don't play well. You can make rainbow layers, or go patriotic and recreate your favorite flag. 
One of the most advanced tricks in this is the Jello Shot Cake. In a bundt cake pan build your layers of jello upside down. One of the most popular recipes for this uses a bit of yogurt in between the clear gelatin layers to create a beautiful visual presentation. It's truly beautiful to see executed properly. It takes some work to have the layers look uniform. It also takes many hours to ensure the right consistency and that it doesn't tear or fall apart. Everyone always feels so guilty making the first cut into this masterpiece. Make sure you make clean slices and don't shred the thing. This picture shows a twelve layer cake, but you should feel free to start smaller. 

Jello Shots with Mix-Ins
There's so much more to a gelatin dessert than just gelatin. I remember in the fourth ever episode of The Simpsons, Marge makes gelatin dessert chock full of marshmallows. If you saw The Office, You'll remember the stapler in the jello. Simply put in your fruit or candies into the mold and pour the jello over it. To create a layered effect, pour a layer of jello, let it harden a bit, and then place the snacks inside. If it's still soft enough you can shove some snacks into the hardened jello. This makes creating scenes of Swedish Fish swimming in a fish bowl much easier than doing dozens of layers of the same mix. One trick I see all over the place is using a cherry, namely, using the cherry stem to act as a sort of handle. This allows for a great party favor that doesn't require utensils and doesn't get your guests' hands sticky. 

“Whoever said nothing is impossible obviously hasn't tried nailing Jell-O to a tree.”
- John Candy

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