There is no jello hierarchy. When you’re working in the boozy shot genre, do not make the mistake of thinking there is a sophisticated version of the jello shot. Do not take the down and dirty fun out of it–leave that to guests who cannot resist expressing their disgust when a simple “no thanks” would suffice. Jello shots aren’t for everyone, and, hey, that’s okay. More for the rest of us.
It’s always good to start with the basic version–flavored jello with vodka–if you’ve never made them before. Simply combine one package of jello with one cup of boiling water, stir until dissolved, and then add one cup of vodka. Stir and pour into your cups, and then refrigerate until set. Makes 10-12 shots. When you are ready to riff, try throwing a piece of fruit into each cup.
There is a debate about using small paper water cups or plastic. I say use whichever is handy. The party is infinitely more important than the delivery method, and, frankly, developing your own technique is part of the fun.
But, perhaps, you are feeling limited by the flavors at the store, maybe you want to make something more personalized. Turn to the Knox gelatin. One package (a box contains four) will make about a dozen. What kind of shot you make is pretty much limitless, but the 1-to-1 ratio of booze to non works best (you can adjust if you find it too strong). A martini might be difficult–but still doable!
My last batch was an attempt at the Va Va Voom cocktail I made at a recent dinner party and convinced Posto on 14th Street to put on the menu. Now it has been rendered in jello.
Flavored jello can simply be dumped into whatever you are mixing in–here I recommend a pitcher for easy pouring. The Knox, however, must be sprinkled over your liquid; otherwise it will solidify. For the Va Va Voom, pour one cup of gin into a bowl or pitcher and slowly sprinkle one package of Knox over it. After a minute, add a cup and a half of just boiling lemonade and stir until the gelatin has dissolved. Pour the liquid into the cups and then give each one a dash of grapefruit bitters. Put the cups in the fridge for three hours and then try to forget they are there. Sit on your hands if necessary!