I used to live in a large group house in DC and every year we would throw a massive Halloween party. We would usually have between 150-200 people show up at this party. So yea. We needed a lot of booze.
One of the housemates was always on Jello shot duty. We’d make a few hundred of them and they were always a big hit.
While it’s pretty quick to mix some booze with some Jello and get a really tasty shot, sometimes you may want to class it up a bit.
When that times comes, ditch the plastic cups, put aside the box mix, and make these suckers.
1) For syrup, cut lemons into eighths and add to a medium pot along with sugar and water. Put over medium heat.
2) As syrup heats, stir regularly and mash the lemons to get out juice and oils from the rind.
3) Once simmering, stir for 5 minutes and then remove from heat to cool a bit.
4) Strain to remove any lemon pieces.
5) Add water to measured amount of syrup and sprinkle gelatin over the top.
6) Heat mixture over low heat and stir to dissolve gelatin. It might take 5-10 minutes to get it all dissolved.
7) Remove from heat and add in booze.
8) Pour into an 8x8 dish and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.
9) Cut into cubes with a sharp, hot knife (run it under hot water).
10) Serve cubes sprinkled with raw sugar.
Adapted from the Jelly Shot Test Kitchen.
A Lemon Syrup
Most of the bitter-sweet flavor in these jelly shots comes from a strong lemon syrup. The basics are pretty simple. Just lemons and sugar!
Cut your lemons into eighths and add them to a medium pot with the sugar. Add the water and put this over medium heat.
As this gets hot and cooks, use a large spoon or something to mush the lemons down. Try to press out the juice.
If you’re wondering why you can’t just juice the lemons and add the juice it’s because there is tons of wonderful lemon flavor in the rind. As they get hot, they’ll release all sorts of awesome lemon oils that will make your syrup way more flavorful.
So bring this syrup to a simmer, mashing the lemons the whole time, and let it simmer for about five minutes.
You should see something like this!
Your syrup is done now. I recommend straining it just to get out any lemon bits and then you can immediately use it in your shots!
Instead of Jello, we’re using straight gelatin for these guys. This results in a really firm jelly that tastes exactly like what you put in it.
Oh. And you’ll need some booze!
Mix the syrup with some water and sprinkle the gelatin over the liquid. Let this sit for a few minutes and the gelatin should start to dissolve.
You’ll need to heat this up ultimately to dissolve all the gelatin. So you can either mix it in a pot over low heat, or mix it in a metal bowl and put the bowl over some simmering water (double boiler) to slowly heat the mixer.
I did it the second way just because I was worried about burning the sugar. You can do it either way though if you’re careful.
Note that this is a lot of gelatin. It might take you 5-10 minutes of stirring as the liquid gets hot before all of it is dissolved. Take your time. There’s no rush.
Once all the gelatin is dissolved, pull the jelly mixture off the heat and add your booze!
Important note: Don’t continue to cook or heat the mixture after you add the liquor. Alcohol evaporates really quickly and if you continue to heat it you’ll lose all the punch in the shots!
Once everything is mixed together, you should have this beautiful shimmering liquid that will smell like an alcoholic lemonade stand.
Pour this into an 8×8 dish and stick it in the fridge for at least 6 hours. That was enough to get mine to set completely. Ideally you can do overnight, but 6 hours should do the trick.
When cutting the squares, the easiest way to do it is to run your knife under hot water and then it should slice right through the jelly.
You could obviously make these as big or small as you want, but I found that a 5×5 cut, yielding 25 cubes, was a perfect size.
I scooped these into some individual mini-cupcake tins and sprinkled them with a good amount of raw sugar.
The shots themselves are pretty tart and lemony (which is good) so the sugar helps cut that a bit.
If you’re curious, I did the math and each of these shots has about 2/3 of an ounce of booze in it. So if you eat three or four of these, it’s basically like having a martini. And you could eat a few of these way faster than you could drink a martini.
So be careful!
But yea. They are tasty and perfect on a hot summer day!