Yes, this is a post about alcoholic jello, but humor me. Gourmet jello shots are having a moment, and these are not the neon mouth-burning concoctions you may recall from college parties. These are great cocktails in solid form. Fun to look at and fun to eat!
This recipe came about last month. Tim and I host a monthly happy hour and try to have a theme each time. Somehow last month, a few friends were talking and all of a sudden we had this month’s theme: Jello Shot June. That was a challenge that this food blogger couldn’t turn down. The research began. Thankfully, I stumbled across a recipe for Moscow Mule Jello shots early in my research. While I decided not to make this version, it did offer some good advice on making your own jello shots, warning against using to much alcohol which will inhibit the gelatin from setting properly. This also meant that the shots I eventually made were fairly mild. This means you can eat several without regrets!
Figuring out how to make milder shots was also reassuring because I have mostly avoided jello shots after a bad experience. Most folks assume that this bad experience was a frat party or other early drinking escapade, but it actually happened much, much earlier in my life. I was only about 11 or so and we were at a large Derby party hosted by some friends of my parents. There was lots of food and drink and kids running around. It was a great party till the host brought out some jello. Now, I heard the adults laughing about it and joking about not being able to eat very much at a time, but I had no idea that jello could contain alcohol. Sometime a bit later, when the adults were distracted, I went over to get a soda and the jello was sitting nearby. I thought, why not have a piece? I cut off a big chunk and just as I put it in my mouth, my mom looked over. The look of horror on her face registered at the same time as the burning sensation in my mouth. I ran to the nearest bathroom and spit out as much as I could, then rinsed with what felt like a gallon of water. It was some STRONG stuff, and having never had more than a sip of beer or wine, I was not prepared for the burning sensation of strong alcohol. I don’t think I ingested enough to feel the alcohol effects, but the memory of the burn pretty much turned me off to the idea of jello shots.
Thankfully, these Apple Pie a la Mode shots are not at all like the fateful Derby jello. In fact, if I made these again, I would add some additional alcohol just to give these a little more kick. I think you could also do a virgin version with just apple cider, if you were so inclined.
These particular shots were adapted from a root beer float jello recipe by Pint Sized Baker. I should note as well that there was no actual jello used. These were all made using powdered gelatin, but were still super easy to assemble. To make apple pie jello, I used some Ole Smoky apple pie moonshine I bought on impulse during a trip to Gatlinburg. It tastes great, but has limited applications. This one was perfect! I made a big pan of jello, then cut it into pieces and covered it all with the ice cream gelatin mix for a great flavor combo! As I said, if I did it again, I would replace some of the ice cream with a neutral or complimentary liquor, maybe vanilla vodka. If you don’t have any apple pie moonshine handy, you could use regular vodka along with the apple cider, but, be sure to use a really flavorful cider and not simply apple juice for more flavor.
To round out the night, I made lemoncello shots with blackberries adapted from this recipe, and our friend Emily brought fun creamsicle shots made in orange rinds. So creative and all very tasty!
- Apple Pie Jello
- 1 cup Apple Pie Moonshine or neutral vodka
- 1/2 cup apple cider
- 1/2 cup boiling water
- 2 packets unflavored powdered gelatin
- Ice Cream Jello
- 2 cups vanilla ice cream (this is the frozen volume, you will have less when melted)
- 3 envelopes unflavored powdered gelatin
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 1 cup boiling water
- 2 tbs sugar
- For the Apple Pie Layer:
- Pour the apple cider in a bowl and sprinkle with the gelatin. Let sit till the gelatin is softened, and then break up any clumps. Add boiling water and stir till gelatin has dissolved. Stir in moonshine or vodka.
- Pour jello into a lightly greased 9X13 inch pan. It will be a fairly thin layer. Cover and refrigerate till set, at least 4 hours.
- Cut the jello into small squares and pile them evenly in a lightly greased 8x8 pan. Set aside and make ice cream jello.
- For the Ice Cream Layer:
- Heat the ice cream in a small pot over medium-low on the stove till melted.
- While that is melting, sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water in a big bowl and let sit till softened. Be sure to break up any clumps. Add the boiling water and stir till dissolved. Stir in sugar till disolved.
- Once ice cream is fully melted, stir that in. Let this mixture sit till it comes down to room temperature. This is important because if you pour the mixture over the other jello while hot, it will melt!
- Once cooled, pour evenly over the chunks of apple pie jello in the 8x8 pan and refrigerate for at least 6 hours so that it is fully set.
- Then cut into slices or cubes and serve!