I love colorful jello shots and I enjoy giving tips on how to make them.
You Can Make Jello Out of Anything
Here is a not-so-secret secret that I learned this year—you can make Jello out of almost any liquid. For a quarter century, I had thought there was complicated science behind the famous jiggly dessert, which was the reason people buy boxes of flavored Jello at the store. But the reality is that all you need to do is take your favorite juice and liquor, add gelatin or its vegan counterparts, Vegan Jel or agar, and stick it in the fridge for a few hours. In other words, Jello in a box is the most misleading product since microwaveable popcorn—for the same amount of effort, you can make it fresh from scratch.
The hardest part of making Jello is planning ahead. It's best to make it the night before or morning of so that it has time to properly set.
If your party is today and you're in a rush, you can use a freezer to speed the process up, but be careful! The water fill form ice crystals if it freezes, so when you bring it back to fridge or room temperature, the ice will melt, leaving you a lumpy, hair gel-like goo. My advice would be to put it in the freezer for half an hour to an hour. Check on it by shaking it—if it jiggles instead of sloshes, move it to the fridge until you are ready to go.
Shapes and Sizes
One of the funnest parts of Jello is that it comes in all shapes and sizes! Before you get started, think about what container you're going to gel the shots in. Here are some ideas:
- Cupcake tins
- Mini cupcake tins
- Dixie cups
- Silicon ice trays—these can come in fun shapes and sizes!
- Loaf pan
- Cake pan—for a big party, you can triple the recipe (so that the layers are still thick enough) and use a cake pan
- Orange peels
|Prep time||Cook time||Ready in||Yields|
1 hour 5 min
5 hours 5 min
Serves 9 people one shot of alcohol each
- 1/3 c. pomegranate juice
- 1/3 c. orange juice, takes two fresh-squeezed oranges
- 1/3 c. lemon juice, takes three large fresh-squeezed lemons
- 1/3 c. Green Goodness juice
- 1 c. vodka
- 2 Tbsp. gelatin (2 packets), 3 Tbsp Vegan Jel, or 2 Tbsp. agar powder
- 4 Tbsp. sugar or honey
It's often hard to find a blue juice for the blue layer of the rainbow, and you can easily create a rainbow effect without it.
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However, if you want it in your rainbow, here are two options:
- If you want an all-natural blue layer, then add 1/3 c. of a blue juice, 1/3 c. vodka, 1/2 Tbsp. of gelatin, 1 Tbsp. sugar or honey, and 15 minutes.
- However, if you want a bright blue layer, it might be worth buying blue berry Jello and using 1/3 of the package with 1/3 c. water, 1/3 c. vodka. This will also add 15 minutes to your prep time.
How to Use Each Gelling Agent
Each of these gelling agents works slightly differently.
If you are using a vegan gelling agent, Vegan Jel by Natural Desserts is the best way to go texture-wise. Agar will result in an extra-firm texture, which some people don't like. Carrageenan is another popular vegan gelling agent made from seaweed, but there has been controversy over its health effects and it adds 12 hours to your cooking time, so I do not list it here.
Gelatin or Jello Box
- Pour a quarter inch of the juice you are using into a cup and add 1/2 packet of the gelatin. It needs to "bloom" in the gelatin for one to five minutes. The gelatin will look like a slowly expanding cloud as it blooms and absorbs the liquid. This step makes sure that the gelatin dissolves evenly.
- As the gelatin blooms, pour the rest of the juice into a saucepan and heat it until it's warm, but not yet simmering. When it is warm, mix 1 Tbsp. of the sugar or honey.
- This should take at least a minute, so when you are done, pour the warm juice into the gelatin mixture.
- Add 1/3 c. of the vodka and mix until the gelatin is entirely dissolved.
- For a Jello box, follow the same steps, but replace the gelatin packet with 1/3 of the Jello packet and the juice with the 1/3 c. of water. Do not add sugar.
- Pour the juice you are using, 1 Tbsp. of the sugar or honey, 3/4 Tbsp. of the Vegan Jel, and 1/3 c. of the vodka into a container.
- Whisk until the Vegan Jel is entirely dissolved.
- Agar is a dried algae that's easiest to use in its powdered form. Pour the juice and the powdered agar in a saucepan.
- Whisk the mixture together as you bring it to a boil.
- Once it has boiled, bring the temperature down to low and mix in 1 Tbsp. of the sugar or honey. Stir as it cooks for 2 minutes.
- Turn the heat off and add 1/3 c. of the vodka.
- For each color layer, mix the juice, vodka, sugar or honey, and gelling agent as directed above.
- Pour the liquid jello into your container(s).
- Place it in the freezer and wait for 10 minutes. (Perfect for cleaning or laundry day!)
- Get started on the next layer, which should take another five minutes. After 15 minutes in the freezer, your first layer should have significant surface tension. When you shake it, it should look like there's a skin moving on the top, even if it's still slightly liquid below. Slowly pour the new layer on top.
- Wait another 10 minutes, and repeat until you have finished every layer!
- Move to the refrigerator and leave it there until your party—preferably at least four more hours.
Vitamins and Minerals Per Shot
16% (563 mg)
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© 2015 Rebecca Schuetz