Friday, October 30, 2009

The Glamorous Grasshopper

Grasshopper Jelly Shots garnished with white chocolate

Recently, on the most perfect late summer afternoon imaginable, we attended an amazing wedding.  The ceremony was set in a forest glen that just happened to be in the bride and groom's backyard (just over the wooden bridge, on the other side of the koi pond . . .).  Pre-reception, guests sipped blended Grasshoppers (a favorite cocktail of the B&G) as the sunlight filtered gently through the oaks.  Just Delightful! 

Natch, when we were contemplating the creation of additional dessert jelly shots, Grasshopper Jelly Shot was at the top of the list.  Pictured above, this jelly shot is not just for after dinner anymore, but also suitable for serving at your afternoon wedding reception or tea with the Queen.
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Friday, October 23, 2009

And now, an Important Safety Tip . . .

Dangerous Goods: Batch 1 Lemon Drop Jelly Shots

Most frequent of the JSTK Frequently Asked Questions (and we are 100% serious) is, "JSTK, can you find a way to put more alcohol in jelly shots?"  First, JSTK is all about the delicious, lovely, wiggly cocktail fun and not necessarily the octane of same.  However, since the topic of has been broached, rest assured that the JSTK jelly shots are plenty booze-tastic to start with. 

To illustrate, recall the classic Vodka Jell-O shots in the little plastic cup?  Now, remember the effects?  Yeoouch - we do. . .  The ratio of water to booze in a classic Jell-O shot is 3:1!  On the other hand, the vast majority of JSTK shots employ ratios similar to their cocktail inspirations - a 2:1 or 1:1 ratio of mixer to hootch.  Significantly higher than a classic Jell-O shot.  The moral of the story?  Don't be fooled - they only TASTE like candy . . . jelly shots are indeed cocktails!

Now back to the question of taste . . . its true that some alcohols may be gelatinized in their virgin state.  Other cocktails, including certain vodka-heavy drinks, may taste like heaven shaken with ice, but gelatinized . . . do not compute.  Which brings us to the Lemon Drop, and the to Lemon Drop Incident alluded to in previous posts.

We do taste and fret over each recipe (in all fairness, the liquid form the inaugural batch of Lemon Drop Jelly Shot was true to classic cocktail proportions and as bright and citrus-y as any we have had).  Once the mix is right, we proceed to gelatinization.  We also sample a tidbit of the shot immediately after the mixture set up.  We are like kids on Christmas - just can't help ourselves.  (Anyway, initially gelantinized batch 1 of Lemon Drop was yum.)

However, some how, some way, sinister forces congregated in the dark recesses of the refrigerator, penetrated the foil-covered Lemon Drop Shot pan, and concentrated the vodka taste exponentially, completely drowning out the shot's intended lemon and sugar crystal goodness.  And that, gentle readers, is how brave tester Shari came to: 1) consume a jelly shot that was rendolent of rubbing alcohol; 2) scorch the delicate insides of her mouth; and 3) earn the distinction of being the first (and only!) unfortunate victim of what is now commonly referred to (at least in JSTK circles) as Lemon Drop Syndrome (LDS for short). 

Finally, we are pleased to report that JS Annie (our intrepid photographer) is back in state from her travels.  Watch for her travel notes and perhaps a new Jelly Shot or two (we don't want to jinx it, however we think we are VERY CLOSE to perfecting the Sambuca!).


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Thursday, October 15, 2009


It seems that Winter has already arrived and departed here in the Land of Gelatine.  An unexpectedly snowy weekend led into a blustery week, but suddenly green grass is revealed again.  Is it Spring?  Autumn?  We're so confused . . . let's call it Summer and take refuge from blistering sun and humidity in a vat of cool, lovely fresh mint.  Oh, yes, mint, and a small bit of rum . . . and a squeeze of lime or two . . .okay, perhaps three.

Mojito Jelly Shot

The Mojito Jelly Shot was the star performer of this week's test plates.  Refreshing yet bold.  Cool yet sassy.  Someone pass us another!


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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

What Beautiful Eyes You Have . . .

The Kamikaze Jelly Shot
The votes are for the favorite collegiate flashback cocktail!  By a landslide. . . the Kamikaze!  We had to have a little fun with the technique, with Halloween just around the corner . . .  As such, we proudly present  Kamikaze Jelly Shot Eyeballs!  Aren't they creepily adorable?!

Eyeball shaped Kamikaze Jelly Shots 
(giant ghoul hand sold separately)

(Recipe and eyeball technique instructions follow . . .)  If you're not in an optical mood, a plain cube of Kamikaze looks quite nice too!

Kamikaze Jelly Shots

2 cups vodka

1 cup water

½ cup Cointreau

½ cup Rose’s lime juice

4 envelopes Knox gelatin

(if desired, a teaspoon of simple syrup, Karo syrup or agave nectar may also be added to smooth out the flavors . . .)

Combine ingredients in pan on stove, heat over low heat until gelatin is dissolved (approximately 5 minutes). Pour into pan, chill until set. Cut into squares.

Makes one 9" x 9" pan, a 9" diameter round cake pan, or two standard loaf pans, approximately 36-48 shots depending on how you slice . . .

Halloween "Eyeball" Technique Primer

Ingredients:  1 batch of the Kamikaze Shot recipe (above)

Implements: ½ inch diameter round cookie cutter, 1 ½ inch diameter round cookie cutter, food coloring in blue, green and red, small paintbrush (or just use your pinky), small plates, a fork, paper towels

Prepare the Kamikaze jelly shot recipe as shown above. 

Pour two 2/3 cup portions of Kamikaze shot mixture into two separate bowls. Add a few drops of food coloring in desired eye colors (we used blue and green) into each, mix. Place bowls in freezer, allow to quick set (approximately 15 to 20 minutes).

Reserve ¾ cup of the shot mixture in container on counter. Pour remaining shot mixture into 9" x 9" square pan or 9” diameter round pan, put in freezer to quick set (approximately 15 to 20 minutes).

When set, remove the bowls of colored shot mixture from the freezer.  Cut out circles with the small 1/2 inch diameter cookie cutter (these will be the “irises”). Transfer the colored circles to a plate, paint (or dab with your pinky) a round dot in each using the blue food coloring, making a pupil in the center. Allow the food coloring to dry a minute or so (until no longer shiny).

Remove the pan of un-tinted shot mixture from the freezer when set. “Rake” the mixture thoroughly with a fork, forming small globules of gelatin.

Pour the reserved shot mixture into the pan of raked mixture, mix well. Insert the “irises”, painted side down, gently pushing them to the bottom of the pan, allowing enough room between each to cut out a proper “eyeball” with the larger cookie cutter. (You will likely have more “irises” than you can use– select the best ones and toss the rejects.)  Note: the surface of the shot mixture will be rough - not to worry, this rough textured side will face down, and the top of the shots will be smooth. 

Squeeze several drops of red food coloring onto a plate. Dab the food coloring into the crevices on the surface of the shot mixture with a paper towel, working in about a 2" x 2" inch sections. Gently wipe excess mixture off with a clean paper towel to remove excess red food coloring - the red food coloring should remain in the crevices only, giving your eyeballs a lovely "bloodshot" effect.

Return pan to refrigerator, allow mixture to set fully - at least 2 hours (can be made a day ahead). Cut out the “eyeballs” with the larger round cookie cutter - ideally just before serving to keep a clean round shape to your shots. Serve to initially horrified, eventually delighted guests. . .


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Friday, October 9, 2009

Mojito Madness!

The beginnings of a Mojito Jelly Shot

Summer,  won't you stay a while longer?  JSTK is pulling out all the stops to keep the seasonal change at bay.  When we met last night to formulate new varieties for the test plates, Mojito was at the top of our list.  Consider it our version of an anti-rain/sleet/snow dance . . . 

Also attempted, the daiquiri  . . . in strawberry and banana.  Fresh fruit, we concluded, was a must. Strawberry has some potential.   Banana may be a bit tricky, due to a distinct translation issue.  Bananas were pureed, strained, and combined with the ingredients and proportions of a classic daiquiri (per author and Master Mixologist Dale DeGroff, aka "The Man" of  all things cocktail).  In a glass, blended with ice . . . gorgeous.  Gelatinized, however, nothing short of a Horror Show!  Back to the drawing board we go for a reformulation of the banana daiquiri . . . 

Speaking of Horror Shows, we are working on a jelly shot treatment for Halloween!  In the shape of EYEBALLS!  (Tester #5, this one's for you . . .)

Cheers, JSTK
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Friday, October 2, 2009

Nominate Your Favorite "Flash Back" College Drink for Gelatinization!

Kamikazi, Tequila Shooter,
Whiskey Sour,
or Purple Hooter . . .
Did you prefer a Berry Blue,
or did you shout for Malibu?

Back in the day, we were all about the Kamikazi (cranberry OR regular) and the over-sized Whiskey Sour.  Oh the head hurts to think of it!  What were the favorite shooters or mixed drinks at your alma mater?

Email JSTK to nominate your collegiate cocktail favorites for entry into the Halls of Gelatin!  We will create and post a Jelly Shot recipe for the crowd favorite.  Vote Early!  Vote Often!


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