J-E-L-L-O: It's aliiiiiive! Here's how to keep your Jello shots alive for longer and keep the party going.
Jello shots are a unique boozy party treat that combine alcohol with a popular dessert favorite to help bring some bright colors and life to your gathering.
Jello shots have a long history of appearing at parties and celebrations.
Back in 1862, a book called How to Mix Drinks, or The Bon Vivant's Companion by Jerry Thomas contained a recipe for punch jelly, which is the first known written recipe for a drink similar to Jello shots.
Then in the ’50s, according to lore, a man named Tom Lehrer invented Jello shots to get around the US military’s policy against alcoholic beverages on bases.
Lehrer apparently added vodka to orange Jello to sneak booze into a Christmas party, and it worked.
From there, the story goes, a party sensation was born.
They're particularly popular with college students, but there's no reason a good party for older adults can't also enjoy your favorite Jello shot recipe!
As a reminder, you must be 21 years old to create or consume Jello shots.
Now that the disclaimer is out of the way, let's dig in.
How Far in Advance Can You Make Jello Shots?
You may be wondering about the shelf life of Jello shots.
Jello shots will last 3-5 days in the fridge for optimal flavor and texture, and up to 7-10 days total.
After the 5-day mark, you may notice them starting to dry out, and the flavor and texture will change.
Glass shot glasses help the shots last longer than plastic ones.
For the best flavor and freshness, Jello shots should be consumed within 2 days.
After they are set, you can cover them for distribution or traveling purposes.
Can You Freeze Jello Shots?
Jello shots are popular not only for the flavorful fun but the signature jiggly texture that you’ve loved in the nonalcoholic original since childhood.
You cannot use a freezer to speed up the setting time for Jello, but that doesn’t mean you can’t attempt to make frozen Jello shots as a finished product.
Frozen Jello shots, of course, possess a different texture.
The usually wobbly Jello becomes chewy and chilled, and boasts a satisfying, icy crunch.
Freezing Jello shots does change the structural integrity of the snack — alcohol doesn’t freeze at conventional freezer temperatures.
Allowing it to thaw will result in a watery, sticky, ruined shot.
Some people have great luck getting their shots to set in the freezer, while others report that it has ruined their drinks.
Freeze with caution — in general, this isn’t a recommended method because so much can go wrong and destroy your expensive, fun treat.
So, yes you can technically freeze Jello shots, but not to store them for future use and not without the risk of giving up some of the beloved textures that make them so fun.
Do You Need Vodka to Make Jello Shots?
Good news — vodka isn’t the only alcohol that works in Jello shots.
Jello shots can be made using rum, tequila, whiskey, liqueurs, wine, and even dark beer.
Unflavored, plain vodka is the most common choice for traditional Jello shots, however.
There isn't a "best vodka" to use here — let your budget and taste determine that, or use less alcohol per Jello shot to stretch a dollar.
We recommend trying your hand at a more sophisticated shot using champagne and delicious watermelon Jello.
Champagne Jello shots are surprisingly easy to make and are a fun way to lighten the mood at more serious adult parties or celebrations.
Light, neutral flavors like white rum or vodka allow the Jello flavor to shine through, but stronger options will still make for a good shot.
Alcohol’s price point might help you decide what kind you’ll use, as it can add up fast depending on what you buy.
You’ll need about ½ cup vodka for 12 shots per most recipes.
How Long Does It Take Jello Shots to Set?
Jello shots usually reach a firm texture within about 4 hours, so they can be made the morning or afternoon of your party.
To be certain that they’re ready in time, you can make them the night before.
This leaves some room for error — if they don’t turn out as expected, you have enough time to whip up another batch that morning.
Adding too much alcohol will hinder the setting process, so be careful not to pour too generously when adding alcohol.
As a general rule, we recommend you follow the recipe exactly (or if anything, use less alcohol) rather than assuming that stronger is better.
How Much Jello Do You Need to Make Jello Shots?
You will need a 3-ounce box of gelatin to make 10, 2-ounce Jello shots.
The flavor of gelatin is up to you, though Cherry Jello (AKA red Jello) is a popular choice.
It really comes down to personal preferences.
Presumably you’re entertaining more than a couple friends, so calculate how many boxes of Jello you’ll need and prep your main ingredients accordingly.
Also, consider how many different flavors you want to provide.
Visually, do you want your tray of shots to look like a rainbow, or perfectly uniform?
It's pretty easy to make a big batch, which can also allow for a variety of flavors.
But it's a good idea to make sure you have enough glass containers or plastic cups before you start dumping your Jello powder and booze in a mixing bowl, just to be sure you have enough.
How Do You Eat a Jello Shot?
Jello shots can be quite messy and a little sloppy-looking to consume, but that doesn’t mean they’re not worth the sacrifice.
To eat a Jello shot, you can use your finger to loosen the shot from the sides of the container.
Slide your finger between the Jello and the shot glass (around the side), then jiggle it loose and pop it into your mouth.
If your Jello shot comes with a toothpick, use the pick to loosen the gelatin from the small cup, but don’t break down your entire shot into chunks.
You can also break off one wall of the container if it is a disposable container, or squeeze the container if it’s flexible.
Another way to loosen a Jello shot is with your tongue.
Here, you follow the same instructions as you do with the finger method, but this time with your tongue.
This is a little more risqué and potentially embarrassing, but who cares? You’re there to have fun!
Once the Jello shot is in your mouth, swish the gelatin between your teeth to break it down before swallowing it if eating it whole feels too intimidating.
Doing it this way also helps you enjoy the flavors more.
Think of it like breaking it down to a drinkable texture before swallowing.
Shots prepared in syringes are typically looser, so when squirting this drink into your open mouth, don’t be overly ambitious!
Slow it down and enjoy it more, without the choking or splashing.
Will Jello Shots Make Me Drunk?
Two or three standard-made Jello shots will not make the average adult drunk, given the limited amount of alcohol in each 2-ounce shot cup.
That said, everyone has a different body chemistry, metabolism, and response to alcohol, so this is only a generalization.
And alcohol content will vary based on the type of alcoholic beverage you're mixing with your Jello mixture.
How many are you consuming? If you’re reading this after eating several and you can’t remember how many, then yes, you might be drunk.
Jello shots are way less boozy than cocktails.
However, an excessive amount of small portions of alcohol will eventually make you drunk, so use discretion and always play it safe when drinking socially.
Have a place to stay or a ride planned in advance if you expect to drink.
Should Alcohol Be Cold When Making Jello Shots?
Jello shot recipes call for cold alcohol to be added to the mix.
Refrigerate your alcohol before mixing up Jello shots. It will help with the process!
And since alcohol won’t freeze in your freezer, you could chill it there, too.
Jello Shots Ideas
If you’re hosting a party with a theme, you can use Jello shots to add to the colorful spread or display.
Using colors that complement the holiday, such as green and red for Christmas, orange for Halloween, or red and blue for the Fourth of July will make your party fun and flavorful.
You can layer the flavors to make rainbow layers, too! Decorate your Jello shots with candy or toppings — gummy worms, gummy bears, silly eyes, whipped cream, fresh fruit, or sprinkles.
The options for your next party are endless, as is the fun!
Nicole is a self-published author of fiction novels, and a lover of food and spending time in the kitchen with her six children. She lives in coastal Maine where she loves exploring new recipes especially those that can save time, money and wow a crowd.Tags: Booze, Entertaining, Drinks, Alcohol