What are Jell-O Shots?

Chris Kohatsu

Jell-O shots are found at college parties, beach and pool parties, and sometimes sold at bars and restaurants. Small glasses filled with various concoctions of alcohol are known as shots or shooters, and Jell-O shots are similar, except they use gelatin mixed with alcohol. The result is a fun and delicious way to enjoy a drink.

Jell-O shots are typically made with cheap vodka.
Jell-O shots are typically made with cheap vodka.

Making Jell-O shots requires a certain amount of preparation time. In order to make Jell-O shots properly, you will need alcohol, gelatin packets, hot water, a tray or jelly pan, and cups. Recommended cups are the tiny nut sized cups found at party stores, or condiment type cups sold at restaurant supply stores. If you can’t find either, go with the smallest plastic or paper cup you can find. If no cups are available, you could make the Jell-O shots in a large container and cut into cubes.

Making Jell-O shots is as simple as adding alcohol to Jell-O mix.
Making Jell-O shots is as simple as adding alcohol to Jell-O mix.

Make the Jell-O shots by following the recipe printed on the package all the way up to the step where you add cold water. Instead of cold water, substitute the alcohol. Depending on the type of flavor gelatin you use, you may want to use a complementary alcohol. For example, most Jell-O shots are made with cheap vodka. However, mango, watermelon, and strawberry flavored Jell-O shots are also enjoyed when made with rum. Lemon flavored Jell-O shots are sometimes enhanced with lemon flavored vodka or a lemon type cordial. Some people use gin to give their jell-o shot a kick, but the results aren’t always popular.

Regardless of which type of alcohol you use, try to resist adding more than necessary. If the recipe calls for one cup of cold liquid, add only one cup, as anything extra may not allow the Jell-O to set. Place the cups on a sheet tray and pour the liquid into each cup. Clear space in your refrigerator and chill until set. Keep the Jell-O shots cold until ready to serve.

There are different ways to enjoy Jell-O shots. Some people will run their finger around the edge of the Jell-O shot, to loosen the gelatin from the cup. Others prefer to squeeze the it out of the cup. There is also the dramatic tilting of the head all the way back, and allowing someone else to dispense the shot for you. As to be expected, there doesn’t seem to be a graceful way to consume Jell-O shots. So do what you’d like.

When consumed responsibly by adults, Jell-O shots are a fun and colorful way to enhance any social gathering. Just remember to moderate intake and drink responsibly.

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