The Science Behind Making The Perfect Jelly Shot

The Science Behind Making The Perfect Jelly Shot

Jelly shots have become a tasty staple for parties all over. To get the perfect balance of flavour and texture, it all comes down to a strong binding gelatin and using the right booze.

Photo by Nic Redhead

In her book Jelly Shot Test Kitchen, Michelle Palm takes the college party classic and ups the ante. Jelly shots use gelatin, obviously, so that means that it's all held together with polymers and colloids. Strengthening their connection is key to right taste and consistency, so Palm suggests you do two things:

  1. Strengthen the gel itself so more booze can be added without sacrificing taste. To make it stronger, it needs to be properly hydrated. Soak the powder in a bowl of water to ensure there is no dry gelatin trapped in a bubble, and once it has become a slurry, heat it until the texture becomes consistent.
  2. Through experimentation, find the best ratio for your recipe while using mid-range spirits, not the cheap stuff. Better taste means that you can have a higher alcohol to water ratio (which is the point). Start with 2/3 cup of water to every 2/3 cup of booze, and work your way from there.

It also doesn't hurt to try pairing liquors to flavours, like tequila for lime, coconut rum for pineapple, and whipped cream vodka with cherry. So get to your lab budding mixologists and develop the perfect shot for your party this weekend.

Jelly Shot Test Kitchen: Jell-ing Classic Cocktails -- One Drink at a Time [Amazon via Mental Floss]


  • I made some shots for a party for the first time and I simply used Aeroplane jelly and regular vodka. The packet says 1 cup of boiling water to dissolve and then 20ml cold water. I swapped this around and added the packet to the jug, filled up to the 200ml mark with boiling water. I dissolved the jelly fully and let it cool then added 1 cup vodka.

    It set fine and the response was wonderful – good flavour and nice and strong. I will use whipped cream flavour vodka next time or even spiced rum!!

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