Confession: I love Jell-O shots. Back in my early drinking days, I was happy with cheap vodka and red Jell-O in a Sponge Bob Dixie cup, but years ago (even before the New York Times said it was cool) I started experimenting with more sophisticated combinations, like lemon Jell-O with basil and gin.
This week, when I got the crazy idea to make boozy Jell-O eggs for Easter — because what’s more festive than that? — I wanted to use the rhubarb syrup I had left over from my rhubarb whiskey sour, and found Anna Hezel’s recipe for champagne and gin rhubarb jelly shots over at Food52. It was a step up for me, because there’s no Jell-O packet involved — just straight gelatin — but it seemed easy enough to follow.
Hezel’s recipe calls for 2 cups rhubarb syrup (her syrup is slightly different than mine) and I only had 1¼ cup left, because cocktails. So I made up the difference with Morris Kitchen’s Preserved Lemon Syrup. But don’t worry; my recipe for rhubarb syrup makes exactly two cups. Also, I’m lazy and impatient as fuck, so instead of doing her beautiful layered thing — which takes two rounds of cooling — I did it all in one big batch. Oh, and because I really like booze, I increased the gin to champagne ratio.
So, you’re probably wondering: Is the recipe good? Yes, it’s amazing. And really not too complicated. It’s just the whole egg mold thing I might rethink.
For starters, egg-shaped Jell-O molds are hard to find. After trying four different stores, I was about to give up and just pour the mixture onto a jelly roll pan and use a cookie cutter to make egg-shaped jigglers (which, in retrospect, I probably should have done). But I eventually found some molds with tacky easter egg decor “texture” at a thrift store (and immediately bleached the shit out of them, of course).
Next problem? My funnel was too big for the hole in the mold, so I ended up using an insert from my kid’s bottle to fill them — though I’ve also seen people use syringes.
Finally, even though I used cooking spray on the molds, I still had a hard time getting the eggs out. Half of my first batch broke in half when I opened them. But I got smart the second time around, and ran the molds under warm water first, and that helped. A little.
Am I glad I made these wobbly little booze bombs? Yes. I mean, do they look like penis heads? Or possibly the byproduct of an operating room? Sure, maybe a little. But you know what? They taste amazing, they’re festive as fuck, and if you eat enough of them, they’ll get you drunk.
Yield: 2 cups
5-6 cups rhubarb, cut into 1/2- inch pieces
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Add the rhubarb, sugar, and water to a medium-size pot over medium to high heat, stirring occasionally. Once it reaches a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and add the vinegar, cinnamon and cardamom. Stir, then let the mixture simmer for at least 30 minutes, or up to an hour. The longer it simmers the more syrupy it will become.
Strain into a bottle or mason jar and let it cool to room temperature, then seal and refrigerate. This will keep in the fridge for weeks. But you’ll probably use it all before that. (Also, the mushy stuff leftover in the strainer makes a really great rhubarb jam.)
Boozy Rhubarb Jell-O Egg Shots
Makes 18 eggs
2 cups rhubarb syrup
8 1-oz packets powdered gelatin
1 cup fresh-squeezed Meyer lemon juice, strained
¼ cup sugar
1½ cups gin
2 cups Champagne or prosecco
Spray 18 egg molds with cooking spray and set aside.
Warm the rhubarb syrup in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Before it reaches a boil, reduce the heat to low and whisk in the gelatin, one packet at a time. Continue to whisk for about 2 to 3 minutes, dissolving as much gelatin as possible. Add the lemon juice, and whisk, then the sugar, and whisk for another minute or two, until the sugar is fully dissolved.
Pour the mixture through a mesh strainer into a large mixing bowl (to catch the clumps of gelatin). Whisk in the gin, then the champagne. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes so some of the bubbles subside. Then, using a funnel and a measuring spoon, fill the prepared egg molds with the liquid mixture.
Refrigerate for 5 hours or overnight, and cross your fingers that shit comes out okay.
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