Whether you need dozens of jello shots for a frat party or want to pleasantly surprise friends with an upscale version at your next cookout, the basic method for creating the shots is the same. Dissolve gelatin powder in hot, nonalcoholic liquid as directed on the box. Stir in half of the cold liquid called for and replace the other half with a clear liquor of choice — vodka and rum are crowd-pleasing options. With flavored gelatin, use water as the nonalcoholic liquid; to customize your shots, opt for juices, homemade lemonade or fruit puree. Divide among 16 shot glasses or small cups, and chill until gelled.
Shoot for Success
Use high-quality liquor to improve the taste of your jello shots. Don’t use pineapple juice as the nonalcoholic liquid because it contains an enzyme that interferes with the gelatin’s ability to congeal. If you use alcohol to replace more than half of the total liquid called for in the recipe, you’ll negatively affect the gelatin’s ability to coagulate and the shots will turn out tasting overly boozy. Experiment with presentation by layering flavors — allow a short layer to firm up and then top with another liquid layer and chill it. You can also impress your guests and make them forget that jello shots are often cheap liquor disguised in glowing colors, wiggling in a plastic cup, by serving the shots in citrus peels or chilling them in small molds that you then invert.
References and ResourcesLiquor.com: Jello Shots
The Kitchn: How to Make Layered Jello Shots
Serious Eats: The Science of Jello Shots