How to Make 6 Jell-O Shots With Local Chicago Booze

Jim Vondruska/Thrillist
Jim Vondruska/Thrillist

You’d be hard-pressed to find a more efficient and entertaining alcohol delivery vehicle than the Jell-O shot. It's not just for college students to hide the flavor of cheap booze or for bars to hide the fact that theirs barely contain any liquor -- the proper way to make jiggly cocktails you can serve by the trayful is to do it in your kitchen. And if you’re a true-blue Chicagoan, you pour some local spirits into the mix. (Like Malört? Yes, of course, read on.) We asked six local distilleries for their favorite Jell-O shot recipes -- each making about 30 shots -- and here’s what they shared:

Jim Vondruska/Thrillist

Tailwinds Old-Fashioned Jell-O Shots

Total Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes
Yield: 32 1-ounce shots

  • 1 3-ounce box Cherry Jell-O
  • 1 3-ounce box Orange Jell-O
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup Tailwinds Rested Agave
  • 6 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 1 cup cold water
  • Combine Jell-O boxes in a bowl.
  • Boil water and add to mixture.
  • Stir in Rested Agave and bitters.
  • Add cold water.
  • Pour into shot cups.
  • Let sit for 2 hours in fridge.
Jim Vondruska/Thrillist

KOVAL Magnificent Mule Jell-O Shots

Total Time: 3 hours, 15 minunes
Yield: 3 cups, about 20 servings

  • 1/2 cup KOVAL bourbon
  • 1 cup mint-infused lemonade
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups ginger beer -- the more carbonated the better
  • Red food dye
  • 6 gelatin sheets or about 1 1/2 envelopes unflavored gelatin powder
  • Begin by infusing lemonade with fresh mint for 2 hours, strain out mint.
  • Boil together mint-infused lemonade and sugar.
  • Add red food dye.
  • Sprinkle gelatin into a small amount of ice water to bloom it.
  • Stir gelatin into lemonade mixture until dissolved.
  • Add KOVAL bourbon.
  • Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  • Stir in cold ginger beer (the colder the better).
  • Allow to set for at least 30 minutes in a pan in the refrigerator (will probably take longer).
  • Remove from refrigerator and cut into the shape of Chicago stars and garnish with a mint leaf.
Jim Vondruska/Thrillist

Ruby Red Malört Shots

Total Time: 2 hours, 15 min
Yield: About 20 shots

  • 1 1/4 cups Jeppson's Malört
  • 1 1/2 cups ruby red grapefruit juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 envelopes Knox gelatin
  • Heat the grapefruit juice on medium heat.
  • Add sugar, stir until dissolved.
  • Remove from heat, sprinkle in gelatin.
  • Stir the mixture until the gelatin is dissolved.
  • Stir in Malört.
  • Refrigerate.
  • Question your life decisions.
Jim Vondruska/Thrillist

Chicago Distilling "Finn and Juice” Jell-O Shots

Total Time: 8 hours, 20 minutes
Yield: About 13 servings

  • 3/4 cup Chicago Distilling Co. Finn’s gin
  • 3/4 cup triple sec or orange liqueur
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 1 orange 
  • 12 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 2 packets unflavored gelatin
  • Lightly grease silicone molds (1-by-1-inch silicone ice cube trays or silicone chocolate molds work well) with cooking spray.
  • Combine gin, triple sec, Angostura bitters, and 4 tablespoons fresh-squeezed juice from orange (reserving orange rind) and set aside.
  • Sprinkle gelatin over boiling water in large, heat-proof glass measuring cup and allow 1 minute for gelatin to bloom.
  • Add gin mixture to gelatin mixture, whisk together, pour into molds and let refrigerate overnight.
  • When ready to serve, invert gelatin molds to release. Garnish with fresh orange zest and serve immediately.
Jim Vondruska/Thrillist

FEW Mint Julep Jell-O Shots

Total Time: 8 hours, 40 minutes
Yield: About 40 shots

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh mint leaves
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons (3 envelopes) unflavored gelatin powder
  • 1/2 cup FEW bourbon
  • 2 cups blackberries
  • Boil the mint leaves, sugar, and 3 cups of the water in a saucepan and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Strain out mint leaves.  
  • Sprinkle the gelatin evenly over 1/2 cup of the water and allow the gelatin to absorb the water.
  • Add the strained minty water/sugar until the gelatin is fully dissolved; add bourbon.
  • Separately, blend the blackberries and 2 cups of the gelatin/water/mint mixture until liquefied.  
  • If you wish to remove the seeds, strain through a mesh. Mix the fruit and bourbon together.  
  • Chill to the consistency of a gel, and then mix it all together to even the fruit throughout.
  • Refrigerate overnight.
Jim Vondruska/Thrillist

CH Distillery Key Lime & Tonic Jell-O Shots

Total Time: 9 hours
Yield: 30 servings

  • 1 cup CH Key gin
  • 5 3/4 tsp. unflavored gelatin
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 3 cups CH house-made tonic

  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup dried lemongrass
  • 1/4 cup cinchona bark
  • 1 1/2 tsp. allspice
  • 1 tsp. citric acid
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. dried orange peel
  • 1/2 tsp. dried lemon peel
  • 1/2 tsp. dried lime peel
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice and zest of 1 orange
  • Juice and zest of 1 lime
  • Combine tonic ingredients and boil, reduce to simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Strain and put in ice bath. Stir in agave.
  • Heat tonic over medium heat, stir in sugar until dissolved, remove from heat.
  • Sprinkle in gelatin, stir to dissolve it.
  • Stir in Key gin, add to cups, and chill overnight.