Here you'll find answers to many of your burning jelly shot questions, including serving suggestions, cutting, and, for you veggie types, gelatin alternatives!

A platter of Jelly Shots, ready to party (did we just use 'party' as a verb?  YIKES! We meant 'ready FOR a party''!!!)

Going the distance.  Jelly shots can be prone to wilting in a buffet setting.  For our parties, we serve jelly shots in very small batches, ice cold from the fridge as a 'passed' item, rather than setting a tray out next to the cheese plate.  To give your jelly shots more staying power, add an extra 1/2 to a full envelope of gelatin to the recipe if:
  • jelly shots will be sitting out for longer than 20 to 30 minutes;
  • jelly shots will be served on skewers;
  • jelly shots will be set in a mold.    
Chill your serving platters, and place the platter on a bed of ice.  

Make ahead?  Yes or No?  Jelly shots can be made the night before your event.  However, don't cut or unmold them until about an hour before serving.  Cut or unmold, and place them on a nonstick cookie sheet or plate until ready to plate.

Making the Cut!  Here are a few easy techniques for making uniform shots without a mold:
  • Try using a paper guide for your knife. Cut out strips of graph paper or lined notebook paper, then place (don’t press) on top of the set gelatin mixture, and run your knife along the edge of the paper strip.  
  • Another easy method is to make a series of cuts, dividing the set gelatin first into two parts, then dividing each part again in two, working from vertical to horizontal cuts until the shots are the desired size. 
  • Also, our favorite knife for cutting jelly shots is a boning knife - medium length blade with a thin profile.  
Ensuring a Good Impression.  So a fancy, molded jelly shot is up your alley?  Try these simple tips:
  • Flexible Silicone Molds:  Prepare the molds with a light application of cooking spray.  Then wipe the mold cavities out with a clean paper towel. This method will leave just the slightest residue, which will help unmold the gelatin without affecting the taste or appearance. Place each mold on a cookie sheet or cooling rack to provide a stable surface for handling.  To unmold, loosen the edges by pulling away from the side of the mold, and just pop each jelly shot out.  So easy! 
  • Jello Molds, Bundt pans, plastic candy molds, etc.:  Prepare the molds with a light application of cooking spray.  Then wipe the mold cavities out with a clean paper towel. This method will leave just the slightest residue, which will help unmold the gelatin without affecting the taste or appearance.  To unmold, fill a large container or sink with warm water (not too hot!).  With clean fingers, loosen the gelatin around the edges of the pan/mold.  Next, dip the mold almost to the edge into the warm water for just a few seconds (10 seconds is usually a good start for larger molds, and 5 for individual). Dry the bottom of the mold with a towel and check the edges to ensure they have loosened up.  (If not, repeat the dip for just a few seconds.) Place your serving plate on top of the mold and invert.   

Veggie or Vegan?  A Word on Gelatin Alternatives . . .

Jelly Shot Test Kitchen recipes are based on Knox gelatin (powdered form, comes in boxes containing four little brown packets).  Knox is widely available in the U.S., but not so much in other areas of the world.  Additionally, we are often asked about vegetarian options to gelatin.  In response, following are conversions from Knox to sheet gelatin and the vegetarian jelling agent agar agar.   We hope the below conversions are helpful!

  • Sheet / Leaf Gelatinlots of options here - we tested Dr. Oetkers brand quality Gold extra with great results!  These sheets were about 3" x 5" and were quite easy to work with. If you are using another brand, you may want to refer to the package instructions to make sure our Dr. Oetker based conclusion is within the realm of gelatin possibility for your brand!  In our experience, you need a little bit more sheet gelatin than indicated on the package to arrive at a just-firm-enough jelly shot.  For example, one envelope of Knox will jell 1 cup of liquid, and the Dr. Oetker package indicated that 3 gelatin sheets would jell one cup of liquid, however, we added an additional 1/2 gelatin sheet per cup of liquid for a jelly shot that is firm enough to stand on its own.  

1 packet Knox =  3 1/2 sheets of gold quality sheet gelatin.

Instructions:  Prepare the sheet gelatin by soaking for a few minutes in cold water, squeeze out excess water, and add to the recipe before heating.  

  • Agar Agar:  There are two types of agar agar - flakes and powder.  We tested agar agar powder.  (Agar agar lakes are hard to find in our area, but we have on order!)  Unfortunately, we don't have a brand to refer - the agar agar available at our local grocer is sold from a rather generic bin in the bulk herbs section.  As such, you may wish to do a test run with your agar agar ahead of serving to guests.  

1 packet Knox =  1/2 teaspoon agar agar powder

Instructions:  First, make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature. Add 1/2 of your mixer liquids (i.e. anything non-alcoholic, such as juice, soda, water, etc.) to a small saucepan.  Sprinkle with agar agar.  Allow to soak for five minutes. Bring mixture just to a boil.  Reduce to low heat, and simmer for 1 to 4 minutes.  (When you can see that the agar agar is fully dissolved, it’s done.) Remove from heat.  Working quickly, add the remaining amounts of your mixers to the agar agar mixture and stir well.  Next, stir in the liquor(s). Pour mixture into desired pan, and place in refrigerator to set.  (Agar agar sets at 78 degrees Fahrenheit.  Although it is possible to allow an agar agar based jelly shot to set on a countertop, a cold jelly shot tastes best!)  

Note: if you are using a flexible silicon mold to set your agar agar based jelly shots, make sure it is extra squeaky clean.  Apparently, agar agar doesn't react well to grease or oil.  Don't worry, you won't have trouble unmolding.  Once set, agar agar pops right out - it is pretty amazing stuff!

More questions?  Email Jelly Shot Test Kitchen!  We just love to hear from you!!