I'm a thirty-something writer who lives in downtown Toronto. I've been an online writer for over seven years, focusing on health trends.
When my grandmother planned to have a party for her friends, she would defer to Emily Post, especially when choosing the linens, selecting the menu, and deciding which cocktails to serve with dinner. Unfortunately, when you’re in your twenties, none of your friends give a crap about table linens, and we look to our television counterparts for every single party we throw. So when my roommate and I decided to throw a Sinners-and-Saints-themed party, we looked to Cappie when choosing the shooters to have on hand for our guests.
Obviously any cocktail deemed classy and refined was out the moment we asked our friends to dress in slutty costumes. Jell-O shots seemed both fun and less likely to give one, or more, of our friends alcohol poisoning.
Or have a guest who is? Jell-O contains gelatin, which is made from animal collagen. However, Jell-O instant pudding does not. For a vegan-friendly alternative, learn how to make pudding shots.
Recipe for Strong Jell-O Shots
- 1 packet Jell-O Powder
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1/4 cup cold water
- 3/4 cup vodka
- Pour 1 cup of boiling water and 1/4 cup of cold water into a measuring cup.
- Measure out 3/4 cup of vodka to add it to the water.
- Pour in the desired flavour of powdered Jell-O to the water/vodka mixture, stirring consistently for 3–5 minutes until dissolved and slightly foamy.
- Carefully pour the mixture into the shooter cups and allow it to set in the fridge for 2 hours or until they are firm to the touch.
Choosing a Flavour to Match Your Theme
The great thing about serving Jell-O shots is they are relatively inexpensive to prepare. Most likely, your biggest expense will be the alcohol you choose. If you are or live like a poor student, these cost-saving solutions are key to throwing an awesome party.
Jell-O also comes in a variety of colours and flavours, so there is no way you won’t be able to find a colour to fit your party's specific theme. For example:
- Cranberry and lime would be a perfect for a Christmas party
- Orange and grape or blueberry (mix the two packets together to give the illusion of a black jello) make the perfect addition to a Halloween-themed party. You could also be adventurous and offer your guests a shot of "TrueBlood" to help get the night rolling.
- Try layering the cherry, orange, raspberry, and lemon flavours to create the perfect Pride shooter, but this is not for the faint of heart and something only a true Martha should take on.
For our particular theme, my roommate and I went a little crazy in our selection of flavours, choosing two of each colour the grocery store offered. Apart from the mildly bitchy comments about the amount of Jell-O two people could possibly consume from our perky middle-aged cashier, it was an enjoyable outing. I don’t think anyone can be sad when they are going home to make Jell-O shots unless they aren’t partaking in the festivities. Usually, you can find Jell-O or jelly powder at any major grocery store or your local convenience store for about a dollar a box. Remember, every one box of Jell-O powder usually renders about 20 shots in a standard plastic or paper shooter cup.
Choosing the Right Alcohol
With the multitude of different alcohols to choose from, it can be difficult to decide which to use as the base for your shooters. I have always found vodka to be the best since it's a neutral spirit and will not overpower the flavor of the Jell-O—at least, not if you measure it out correctly. There is nothing worse than serving your guests Jell-O shooters that remind them of paint thinner.
If you are not a fan of vodka, then I would suggest:
- Peach schnapps
- Southern Comfort
Although there was some competition between vodka and tequila, we ultimately ended up deciding on the 40-ounce bottle of vodka, which was our most expensive purchase of the day (coming in at $37.50). When choosing an alcohol, it’s important to respect the flavours and audience you’re serving. The only way to ruin a Jell-O shot is to add too much alcohol, causing them to become slightly goopy, syrupy sweet, unappetizing messes that smell like acetone. Please remember, Jell-O shots are high in sugar and extremely potent, but take a while to be absorbed. So you may not feel them immediately, and you shouldn't plan to get drunk solely off of them—alternate with less sugary drinks to mitigate your impending hangover.
Good Flavours to Pair With Various Alcohols
- Amaretto + Raspberry: Tastes like a creamsicle. Please be careful with this mixture.
- Vodka + Grape Jell-O: Whether you use a flavoured vodka or a regular one, it takes on a smooth taste and has an alcoholic edge to the flavour.
- Tequila + Orange Jell-O: The orange smoothes out the flavour of the tequila, but it it's still very spicy and a wee bit tangy.
- Southern Comfort + Lime Jell-O: Tastes like a lime-flavoured fuzzy peach with an alcoholic bite.
- Gin + Lemon: Tastes like a lemon ball martini. Disliked by anyone who does not like the taste of alcohol.
- Rum + Orange Jell-O: Sweet and spiced.
- Malibu + Peach Jell-O: Very sweet and light. What's more, the alcohol flavour is undetectable. Please be careful with this mixture.
I Don't Want It to Taste Like Alcohol!
If you are looking for a good party shot that won't taste too much like alcohol, I would suggest using Peach Schnapps because it tastes like candy. It does not have a strong alcoholic taste and mixes well with any fruit-flavoured Jell-O.
But What Should I Mix With the Blue Jell-O?
Let me be the first to tell you: There is no alcohol that blends perfectly with blue Jell-O without tasting like cough medicine or something supremely unpleasant.
Have Fun and Be Safe!
Please remember when partaking in Jell-O shooters: They are fun, but should not be consumed en masse all at once due to the body's inability to break down gelatine quickly. The alcohol will hit you a little later than you expect, so spend some time between shots.
Potential Side Effects
When serving Jell-O shots, remind your guests that when alcohol is in a solid form, it becomes:
- Harder to taste
- Slower to absorb
So it's easy to drink more than you realize. Even seasoned drinkers (the Dorothy Parkers in your friend group) and lightweights may have a hard time to discerning how much they've actually had to drink and oftentimes can become sick.
Also, the high sugar content can lead to the worst hangover you've ever experienced the morning after, so if you would like to avoid sleeping on the bathroom floor screaming into the toilet promises of a 'dry' life if God could just cure you of the huge headache, then monitor how many you've had. Hangovers are only fun when you have a slight headache and a strong desire for French toast the next morning—if you're bathroom ridden for an entire twenty-four hours, you probably had too much.
Symptoms of Alcohol Poisoning
And just for good measure because everyone should know the signs of alcohol poisoning, they are:
- Slow or irregular breathing
- Blue-tinged or pale skin
- Low body temperature (hypothermia)
How to Detect the Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Poisoning
© 2011 Stu
Jennifer C on June 20, 2019:
I love jello shots! They bring back so many fun memories. I've only ever had them with vodka but interested to try them with something different. Thanks for the flavour pairing suggestions. I might have to try some of these :)
Gabz on April 20, 2019:
I know it’s less alcohol content, but UV Blue mixes well with the blue Jell-o and you only get the berry taste.
Joe on August 17, 2018:
I’m 30 years old. Tomorrow my geriatric friends and I plan on getting faded on Jell-O shots prior to cooking 40oz 45 day dry aged Wagyu Kobe beef rib rye steaks, loaded baked potato, Caesar salad, and a bottle of Moët to finish er’ off.
Sanet on December 05, 2017:
is there a easy way of getting them out? we seem to struggle and have to use toothpicks to loosen the sides
Lena Durante from San Francisco Bay Area on May 19, 2017:
I must admit, I still make jello shots on occasion, but a more grown-up version. I pick a classic cocktail and then adapt it into jello shot form. It's a fun little challenge and they're a big hit with folks who feel nostalgic for younger days, but have developed a more sophisticated palate in the meantime.
Desi on September 21, 2012:
Trying to make them tonight for tmrw I thought even though the party's for my mother in laws 55th bday and all of her 5 daughters r making desserts ill make these just cuz I think it's a cute idea. I mean I loved them in highschool so I'm sure they're still great besides my husband is the only boy so that can be his dessert and I guess I'll also bake a cake. And btw my cashier was cool she was giving me ideas she told me to cute out limes and use watermelon jello w vodka and they'd look like lil watermelons. Sounds like your cashier needed a Jell-O shot because jello is awesome and who can have enough jello thx for the receipe!;)
shin_rocka04 from Maryland on August 31, 2012:
Jello shots are definitely a fun party treat. I remember having some with Everclear 5 months ago. Talk about powerful O_o
Britta on August 15, 2011:
Warning! You may need a toothpick to get them out. :)
Stu (author) from Canada on August 13, 2011:
Jeannie, you need to experience the awesomeness of the jello shot. And when you do, will discuss your experience. Also, I think she was jealous, as well - thanks for the hub love!
Jeannie Marie from Baltimore, MD on August 13, 2011:
I love this hub. I am going to bookmark it for future use. Believe it or not, I've never had Jello shots. I feel so ridiculous! I definitely have to make some. Also, that cashier sounds like she was just jealous.