Monday, May 25, 2009

Jello shots - now with lychee!

So, some time ago, I came up with the brilliant idea that I should try making Jello shots with lychee alcohol. I've only had Jello shots once, years ago, at a party that I attended with a friend. I remember thinking they were pretty good, though I don't recall what kind of alcohol was in it or what other kind of flavoring was in it.

I've previously mentioned my discovery of Soho's lychee liquer.

Well, I figured that would be great to make Jello shots with. I thought about what kind of Jello flavor to mix it with. The husband suggested that I just use the lychee liquer with unflavored gelatin so it would just have the flavor of the lychee, but I decided I did want some kind of other flavor. But I wanted something that would go well with the flavor of the lychee. Citrus (orange, lemon, lime) would seem to clash with the sweetness and smoothness of the lychee, and I also didn't want a bold flavor like cherry that would overpower the flavor of the lychee. So I decided to use the peach flavor.

A couple months ago, I also found another lychee-flavored alcohol, a lychee vodka by Kai. It tastes more like alcohol and has less lychee flavor than the Soho drink, so it goes down a little harsher, but it's still pretty good.

OK, so rather than try to figure out how to modify the regular Jello recipe to take into account the alcohol, I figured there must be something on the net about Jello shots, right? Well, of course! I actually found this page which gave me the basic recipe. The comments are actually pretty interesting as well, and there are links to lots of other interesting recipes. I took the standard recipe, and then because I was going to try two different things, I cut the recipe in half, but then I also modified each one, taking into account the suggestions about adjusting the cold water/alcohol content depending on the strength of the alcohol.

Here are the two different recipes I ended up using.

using lychee liquer

3 oz. Jello
8 oz. hot water
2 oz. cold water
6 oz. alcohol

using lychee vodka

3 oz. Jello
8 oz. hot water
3 oz. cold water
5 oz. alcohol

The lychee vodka had a stronger alcohol content than the lychee liquer, so I adjusted the cold water/alcohol ratio by just a bit.

I mixed the peach Jello and hot water until the Jello dissolved, and then I added the cold water and alcohol. Once everything was all mixed together, it was time to make the individual shots.

I had been thinking for some time about what to make the Jello shots with. I had recalled that when I had them, they were individual servings that you could eat easily. I had thought about the paper condiment cups that you see in some food places, but I wasn't sure where to get those, and I wasn't sure the paper would entirely work. I happened to be in a Sur La Table one day, and I saw that they had these foil baking cups in a mini size. With the extra foil, I thought that would help to hold the liquid in while the Jello set.

I had originally set out the cups just on a baking sheet, and I spooned in the liquid to fill the cups. I noticed, though, that the cups were expanding from the weight of the liquid, and they weren't going to hold together well enough by themselves, so then I ended up putting the cups in a muffin pan to keep the shape better, which worked out really well.

Each half of the recipe was enough to make 24 cups as well as some liquid left over that I then just put in a little glass bowl, and I just put everything in the refrigerator.

Both batches of lychee Jello shots, liquer on the left and vodka on the right. I put pieces of paper underneath so I could remember which was which. You can see the bowl to the left that has the leftover liquid from the lychee liquer recipe.

Close-up of the lychee vodka batch. The color variation is just from the lighting inside the refrigerator.

I had figured on just letting them set overnight, but I happened to be up late, and about 4 hours later, I discovered that the Jello had already set.

Lychee liquer Jello shot set in the baking cup.

Now, it was time for the taste test!

The baking cup did make the shot quite easy to eat, since it was little and you could squeeze it to get to all the Jello. It was a little tricky to get it out of the muffin pan since it wasn't hard set, made even more difficult in the cases where I overfilled and liquid went out of the baking cup and into the pan itself. That made for sticky wrappers on those shots. I did fill the cups pretty much all the way, so I'd probably not fill them quite as much next time. I also used a big spoon, which isn't the easiest way to control liquid. I have to figure out how to do the pouring better next time. I still think the foil ones are a better idea. With the paper ones having even less support, I'm not sure if they would work. Maybe next time, I'll make a couple using paper ones just to see how they turn out.

First up was the lychee liquer. Mmmm, boy was that tasty. The peach Jello was a good choice since it was a light flavor that didn't overpower the lychee flavor. You could distinctly taste the peach, but you could also taste the lychee, and both flavors blended together quite well.

Next up was the lychee vodka. It was still good, though it had a stronger alcohol taste and less of a lychee taste because the vodka is like that compared to the liquer. There was a bit more of a bite and bitterness to this one, but I still very much enjoyed it.

I had also purchased some strawberry Jello, and I might try that in the future, though I'm not sure I can imagine it being better than the peach.

I think the concentration of alcohol in each shot was pretty good - enough for a bit of a buzz after having a couple, but it doesn't knock you out. I was figuring that I could adjust the recipe if need be next time after tasting it this time, but there's no need for that. If you do want to make it stronger, you could probably do so by swapping out hot water for the extra alcohol.

Some of the comments on the recipe page mention making Jello shot jigglers, which I think might be kinda cool, but I think I'm more partial to just the classic Jello shot itself.

I love Jello!


Sherry said...

Sounds yummy! Peach and lychee sounds like a great combination. I'm glad your experiment worked out well, because I'd hate for your SOHO to go to waste. :)

Sherry said...

Okay....yummmmmy. Next potluck, you're bringing jell-o shots. THANK YOU!