Jell-O shots have grown up. More and more are being served as gourmet dessert courses made with fresh fruit, top shelf liquors and spirits, and presentations that resemble canapes rather than cafeteria fare.
You’ve come a long way from your ASU days of rocking out at Gibson’s and After the Gold Rush.
Arizona State University has cleaned up its act and so have you. But one remnant from your youth that is clearly worth revisiting are those lively little gelatin shots we slurped down while listening to bands like August Red. You remember, the ones made with Everclear or exceptionally cheap vodka. If you don’t remember the Jell-O shots, as they were called, you definitely remember the hangovers.
Well, like you, Jell-O shots have grown up. More and more are being served as gourmet dessert courses made with fresh fruit, top shelf liquors and spirits, and presentations that resemble canapes rather than cafeteria fare.
The recipes are far more inventive, too. Think of plain gelatin as a blank canvas; it merely serves as the structure for your semi-solid cocktail. In “Jiggelo Inventive Gelatin Shots for Creative Imbibers” by Sharon Calhoon, Kahlua coffee liqueur and vodka are combined with Frangelico hazelnut liqueur, coffee, milk and unflavored gelatin to create a drink called “Insomniac City.” The ingredients, with or without gelatin, sound like a lovely cocktail. The gelatin merely brings added fun.
When thinking about this new trend, I also gave a lot of thought to presentation. You can take the three components of a B-52 — Grand Mariner orange liqueur, Baileys cream liqueur and Kahlua — and layer each liqueur-flavored gelatin like a trifle or cake and cut them into bite-size layered treats. Perhaps garnish it with a bit of whipped cream. I also went exploring for cool gelatin molds and found some interesting ones at Sur la Table in Chandler. The kitchen store had ones shaped like sea shells, the suits from a deck of cards and other whimsical forms.
All of this said, it’s easier than you think to make a sophisticated and delicious alcohol-infused gelatin dessert course for your next dinner party. Your friends will get a kick out of your creativity, and it will give you a chance to reminisce about your college days.
1 cup water
Two 1/4-ounce packages of unflavored gelatin
3/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup orange liqueur such as Cointreau or triple sec
1/2 cup simple syrup
3/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup tequila
Preparation: In small saucepan, bring 1/2 cup water to boil. Remove from heat, add one package of gelatin and stir until dissolved. Add orange juice, orange liqueur and 1/4 cup simple syrup and stir. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Line a loaf-size Pyrex pan with plastic wrap. Pour orange mixture into the pan and refrigerate for two hours. Wait an hour or more and repeat process with lime juice and substitute tequila for the orange liqueur. Be sure lime mixture cools before pouring on top of orange layer. Refrigerate for four hours or until firm. At service, remove from Pyrex dish and slice into bite-size pieces. Garnish with salt and serve.
Pina Colada Drop
1 cup water
2 ounces pineapple-flavored gelatin
3/4 cup coconut-flavored liqueur such as Malibu or Bacardi
1/4 cup shredded and unsweetened coconut
Pineapple chunks or wedges
Preparation: In small saucepan, bring water to boil. Remove from heat, add gelatin and stir until dissolved. Add coconut and coconut liqueur and stir. Pour into molds and refrigerate for four hours or until firm. Garnish with whipped cream and pineapple wedge during service.
About gelatin: Basically, gelatin is glutinous material obtained from animals. When reconstituted with liquids, it takes on a gel form. Most boxes of unflavored gelatin contain four individual packages of gelatin totaling 1 ounce, or 1/4 ounce per package. Unflavored gelatin is virtually tasteless.