Original Recipes

How to Make the Classic Cocktail Jell-O Shots You Never Knew You Needed

Perry Santanachote/Thrillist

I admit keg stands in the office make everyone slightly uncomfortable, but, just because you're pretending to be a grown-up person, you shouldn’t have to give up all your favorite college traditions. Especially not Jell-O shots. They just need a few upgrades to be deemed appropriate for adult living.

I used four classic cocktails -- Old Fashioned, margarita, Negroni, and mint julep -- as inspiration, and ditched the fluorescent Jell-O mixes, opting instead to flavor gelatin with natural sweeteners and really good booze. Then I poured the mixtures into silicone molds to solidify since Jell-O shots look much more sophisticated when served in a silver julep cup, instead of being slurped from the kind of crushable cup your dentist uses. And while actually drinking an Old Fashioned is the classiest move, I promise Old Fashioned Jell-O shots are far more fun.

Negroni Jell-O Shots — Thrillist Recipes
Perry Santanachote/Thrillist

Old Fashioned Jell-O Shots Recipe

Total Time: 10 minutes plus chill time
Yield: 16 ounces, 8 servings

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ÂĽ cup Angostura bitters
  • Âľ cup soda water
  • 2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
  • â…” cup rye whiskey
  • 16 maraschino cherries for garnish
DIRECTIONS:
  • Lightly grease silicone chocolate molds with cooking spray.
  • Combine sugar, bitters, and ½ cup of water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low. Add soda water and sprinkle with gelatin. Stir constantly until gelatin is dissolved, about 5 minutes.
  • Remove from heat, stir in whiskey, pour into molds and refrigerate until fully set, 3 hours or overnight.
  • Once set, invert the molds to release the gelatin. Garnish with maraschino cherries. Serve immediately.
Margarita Jell-O Shots — Thrillist Recipes
Perry Santanachote/Thrillist

Margarita Jell-O Shots Recipe

Total Time: 20 minutes plus chill time
Yield: 16 ounces, 8 servings

INGREDIENTS:
  • 4 medium limes
  • 1 cup limeade
  • 2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
  • Âľ cup blanco tequila
  • ÂĽ cup Cointreau
  • Coarse sea salt for garnish
DIRECTIONS:
  • Slice each lime in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to hollow out and discard the flesh, so all you have left is the rind. Place lime halves, cut-side up, on a platter; set aside.
  • Pour limeade into a small saucepan and sprinkle with the gelatin. Stir constantly over low heat until gelatin is dissolved, about 5 minutes.
  • Remove from heat. Stir in tequila and Cointreau. Pour mixture into lime rinds. Place in refrigerator to set for at least 3 hours or overnight.
  • Once set, slice each lime cup in half to make 16 wedges. Pour sea salt into a small bowl and dip one lip of each wedge in the salt. Serve immediately.
Negroni Jell-O Shots
Perry Santanachote/Thrillist

Negroni Jell-O Shots

Total Time: 10 minutes plus chill time
Yield: 16 ounces, 8 servings

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 (1-by-2-inch) strip of orange zest
  • 2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
  • â…“ cup Campari
  • â…“ cup sweet vermouth
  • â…“ cup dry gin
  • Orange zest for garnish
DIRECTIONS:
  • Lightly grease a silicone loaf pan or cake pan with cooking spray; set aside.
  • Combine 1 cup water and orange zest in a medium saucepan and sprinkle with the gelatin. Stir constantly over low heat until the gelatin has dissolved, about 5 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and discard the orange zest. Stir in Campari, vermouth, and gin.
  • Pour the mixture into the pan and chill until fully set, 3 hours or overnight.
  • Once set, invert the gelatin onto a cutting board and slice into 8 even cubes. Garnish with orange zest. Serve immediately.
Mint Julep Jell-O Shots — Thrillist Recipes
Perry Santanachote/Thrillist

Mint Julep Jell-O Shots Recipe

Total Time: 25<span> minutes plus chilling time
Yield: 16 ounces, 8 servings

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
  • ½ cup mint leaves
  • 1 cup bourbon
DIRECTIONS:
  • Lightly grease a large silicone ice cube tray; set aside.
  • In a small saucepan, combine sugar with 1 cup water over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle gelatin over the mixture and whisk constantly over low heat until the gelatin dissolves, about 5 minutes.
  • Put the mint leaves in a medium glass bowl and pour in the sugar syrup. Let steep for 15 minutes.
  • Stir in bourbon. Strain mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a large measuring cup.
  • Pour into the mold and refrigerate until fully set, 3 hours or overnight.
  • Once set, invert the mold to release the gelatin. Serve immediately.