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Admit it, you miss Jell-O shots.
Admit it, you miss Jell-O shots. Jiggly, sweet and—most importantly—deceptively boozy, they were college party staples. Then adulthood set in, and you replaced the wiggly shooters with classy cocktails and craft beers. But somewhere deep inside, you secretly wish you could suck another Jell-O shot down while maintaining your dignity. Lucky for you, chefs have been working hard to turn the nostalgic, edible cocktails into something sophisticated. Here, three Jell-O shot recipes inspired by classic cocktails that straddle the line between rowdy and refined.
Clio Jell-O Shots
A cross between a gimlet and a margarita, these sweet-tart shots from Ken Oringer of Boston’s Clio are garnished with sea salt, fresh mint and cayenne pepper for a beautiful presentation and complex flavor profile.
Makes 6-8 shots
1 ounce lime juice
1 ounce simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water, sugar dissolved)
1/4 ounce gelatin sheet or powder
4 ounces vodka
1 ounce Cointreau
Sea salt, fresh mint leaves and cayenne for garnish
1. Pour the lime juice and simple syrup into a mixing bowl, then add the gelatin and let sit for 3 minutes.
2. Microwave the mixture for 20 seconds, until the gelatin just melts. Stir in the vodka and Cointreau, pour into shot glasses and refrigerate until set.
3. Before serving, remove from the fridge so the shots warm up enough to become slightly wiggly and top with sea salt, fresh mint leaves and some cayenne pepper.
Negroni Jell-O Shots
Pastry chef Brian Yurko of New York City's Public and Saxon + Parole transforms the bracing, bittersweet Negroni into a grown-up edible drink with this recipe.
Makes 15 shots
6 ounces gin
6 ounces Campari
6 ounces sweet vermouth
9 ounces water
12 gelatin sheets
1. Soak the gelatin sheets in an ice-water bath until soft, about 5 minutes. Squeeze out the excess water and mix the sheets with the 9 ounces of water.
2. Warm the water-gelatin mix to dissolve the gelatin. Add the gin, Campari and vermouth and stir.
3. Spray each shot glass with a mist of nonstick spray, wipe out the excess oil and fill with the Negroni mixture.
4. Refrigerate until the shots are set and serve.
Lychee Jell-O Shot
These lychee-tini-inspired shots from John Bush of Brooklyn’s Talde get their citrusy flavor from actual lemon Jell-O.
Makes 25 shots
6 ounces lemon Jell-O
2 cups boiling water
4 ounces London dry gin
4 ounces SOHO Lychee Liqueur
1 cup cold water
1. Mix the lychee liqueur and cold water and chill.
2. Empty the Jell-O packet into a bowl and add boiling water, stirring until the powder is completely dissolved. Then combine with the chilled liqueur and water mixture.
4. Pour the mix into shot glasses, mini Dixie cups or molds.
5. Refrigerate until the Jell-O sets—at least 2 hours or overnight—and serve.