What is it about Jell-O shots that prohibits them from ever becoming outdated?
They’re kind of like a best friend — always around when you need them, but know to stay far away when you’re totally embarrassed by them.
Campeon restaurant served Jell-O shots during The Fresh Toast launch party last week to a bunch of guests who regressed into drinking noobs when they saw the jiggly treats being passed around. That’s the magic of Jell-O shots, right? Nobody doesn’t like them.
We asked a few of our favorite bartenders to give us their take on what keeps this treat so relevant.
As James Physick from The Penrose in NYC tells us:
Listen, if I’m at a party, they’re great, but if I saw them at a bar, I’d assume that it’s more of a college frat bar. They’re great for a Halloween party. They get you so smashed, but you don’t realize it because of all that sugar. They come a-creeping.
He uses this standard recipe, using Peach Schnapps (or Vodka) for the liquor. And remember to keep them refrigerated once they set.
Nostalgia is a huge reason (if not the reason) Jell-O shots remain popular. Matthew Luke Meyer from Sweet Afton in Astoria, NY, says for him, Jell-O shots remind him of college. And somehow, whenever you eat a Jell-O shot, your actions swing in that general direction, too. “There’s something great about watching your friends trying to dig a shot out of a cup with their fingers, looking around at each other, like, “Is it good? It’s good!”
The last time i had Jell-O shots was in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Not so coincidentally, it was the same night I fell down some stairs and broke my foot, at the same bar. And that was the last time that I saw Jell-O shots in a bar.
Bartender Nik Virrey likes his Negroni-O shots. It’s a solid punch, but light in flavor. Here’s how to whip up a batch.
- 1 packet desired flavor (Cherry preferred to keep the color)
- 6 oz boiling water
- 2 oz Gin
- 2 oz S. Vermouth
- 2 oz Campari
Combine all ingredients. Cool to room temp. Pour into chosen vessel. Let set for 3ish hours in the fridge before serving.
For a Jell-O shot that has more of a special kick, Warren Bobrow, author of Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails and Tonics, has a recipe that you can easily add cannabis to.
“You can add an infused spirit in an oil or tincture base,” says Warren. ” Sativa for day use and indica for night. The use of Jell-O makes it serious fun!”
For his standard honey lemon shooters, Warren uses Barenjager, which is a lovely honey liqueur from Germany. Simply prepare Jell-O the traditional way, but instead of using the entire recipe of water, use Barenjager instead. (He also makes Jell-O shooters with Stroh 160 Austrian spiced rum with either vanilla or ginger flavored Jell-O).
If you’d like to infuse the shots with cannabis, here’s the trick. Says Warren, “I infuse the decarbed cannabis in a 240 degree oven covered for 45 minutes to an hour. Let cool. Into my Magical Butter Machine* with one bottle of the spirit of my choice. Set for 160 degrees for 1 hour to infuse. Strain and add back to the bottle and top off with fresh liquor. I never use much more than an ounce per bottle if I really want to get wasted. Otherwise 1/2 ounce of good flowers will be perfect.”
If you don’t have a Magical Butter Machine, Warren says to infuse the decarbed cannabis in liquor at 160 degrees using a double boiler. No gas! (because alcohol). Strain. Refill with fresh liquor and follow the Jell-O recipe for alcohol shots.
“The weed zips in there!,” says Warren. “You just can’t see it. Just some color and aroma.”