Matthew Kelly/Supercall

Vodka • Sweet
Jell-O Shot

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There’s no “drink” more firmly rooted in college drinking culture than the Jell-O Shot. A mix of water, flavored gelatin powder and, usually, cheap liquor of all sorts (vodka, tequila, rum, whatever you’ve got), the semi-solid shot goes down almost too easy. Though it’s most commonly associated with the Jell-O brand, the history of gelatinized cocktails predates the name-brand dessert’s invention by 35 years. The venerable Jerry Thomas wrote of a boozy gelatin dessert in his 1862 tome, The Bartender’s Guide. The Punch Jelly is a mix of isinglass (a type of gelatin derived from fish), Cognac, rum and lemon juice. While it seems unlikely that your sorority friends drew their party inspiration from Thomas’ fishy creation, it was an impressive first iteration of the edible drink trend and worth trying if you’re the adventurous type.

But the basic Jell-O Shot is an easy and popular way to kick off a night of partying. All you have to do is dissolve gelatin in boiling water and add your booze. The drinks you can turn into Jell-O Shots are practically endless. We always start with these basic amounts: one cup boiling water, one packet of Jell-O, half a cup of booze and half a cup of cold water. Use those proportions to scale up and down, substitute and experiment to your heart’s content. Jell-O Shots aren’t the most sophisticated way to enjoy your cocktails, but they might be the most fun.

The Essentials

Any Clear Spirit
The Details


1 packet Jell-O
1 Cup water
.5 Cup Clear Spirits (vodka, tequila or white rum)
.5 Cup cold water


  • In a bowl, stir the Jell-O powder and boiling water together until all of the mix is dissolved.
  • Stir in the liquor and cold water and mix until thoroughly combined.
  • Pour the mix into two-ounce plastic shot cups until they are half to three-quarters full.
  • Chill two hours, or until the mix is set.
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