Best Shot: Vodka Jelly Oranges

You can understand why Jell-O shots get a bad rap. A novelty of the college party… >

Best Shot: Vodka Jelly Oranges

You can understand why Jell-O shots get a bad rap. A novelty of the college party circuit, they’re a messy, sticky affair that are hard to justify this side of spring break. That said, between us? They are really, really fun—which is why we’re delighted that Fleur Wood discovered an elegant way to serve up our long-lost guilty pleasure. In her new book, Food Fashion Love, the fashion designer and passionate home cook shares her recipe for Vodka Jelly Oranges, a genius method that trades the traditional shot glasses for hollowed-out orange wedges. The finishing touch to this wiggly, giggly shot? The only garnish that can keep up: edible glitter.


8-10 oranges, halved
2 tablespoons powdered gelatin
3 cups boiling water
1 1/2 cups superfine sugar
1/2 cup vodka
Food coloring
Edible glitter


Gently juice the orange halves and remove any fibers, keeping the skin intact. Place the orange halves, cut-side up, in 12-hole muffin tins (one cup capacity) and set aside. Add the gelatin to 1 cup of boiling water and whisk to dissolve. In a separate bowl, add the sugar to the remaining 2 cups of boiling water and whisk to dissolve. Whisk the gelatin mixture into the sugar mixture; set aside to cool, then add the vodka. Divide the liquid among seven small bowls and use food coloring to turn each a different color. Pour the liquids into the orange cups (don’t mix the colors!) and then sprinkle each with the edible glitter. Refrigerate overnight or until set. After the gelatin is set, use a sharp knife dipped in warm water to slice the filled oranges into wedges, then serve.

Photo by Rob Palmer

A toast to fatherhood, tango-mango style

If you’ve ever noticed on the top of my blog there’s a little blurb describing myself. It says, “I’m a Portland, Oregon biker, baker, reader, writer…” It ends, “but I’m trouble.” Yeah, that little bit about trouble? I am known for having a wild streak. One of these days I need to grow up and behave myself but today is not the day.

While other families are out celebrating Father’s Day with gifts of neck ties and golf balls, we’re toasting fatherhood (literally) with lemony, blackberry flavored Jell-O shots. Cheers!

Bramble jelly shots, reprinted from the NYT Magazine Blogs.

Note: I’m giving the recipe as written but I found it worked better to sprinkle the gelatin over cold water first to soften it and then heat the water to boiling, continuing to stir to dissolve gelatin. (Rather than to stir gelatin into hot water.)

For the float:

  • 6 ounces crème de mûre (blackberry liqueur)
  • 1 packet Knox unflavored gelatin
  • 1 package (3 ounces) grape-flavored Jell-O gelatin
  • 1 cup hot water

In a small mixing bowl, sprinkle the Knox and the Jell-O into the hot water and stir until completely dissolved, 5 to 7 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes, then stir in the crème de mûre. In a small, nonreactive baking dish or loaf pan (I used an 8x8-inch glass pan), pour a few drops of cooking oil (grapeseed works well) and wipe out with a paper towel, coating the entire vessel with the barest layer. Pour blackberry float mixture in and set to chill in refrigerator for 2 hours, making certain it is level.

For the gin sour:

  • 1 cup gin (lemon infused) (Note: vodka may be substituted!)
  • 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 packets Knox unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup hot water

Juice enough lemons to give you 2/3 cup juice, keeping the hulls as you squeeze. Roughly chop the squeezed hulls and put them in a coverable container along with the gin and the lemon juice. Leave at room temperature for at least 2 hours. It’s a good idea to do this before starting the float, so that by the time that has firmed up, your infusion is ready to go.

When the float layer is firm, bloom the gelatin in the hot water by sprinkling it slowly while stirring, and continuing stirring until fully dissolved. (See my above note about softening gelatin in the water first.) Add the sugar and stir until that is also fully dissolved. Strain the gin mixture off from the lemon hulls through a fine sieve or chinoise and add it into the gelatin mixture, stirring well. Over a spoon, so as not to gouge a divot in the float layer, pour the lemon sour mix onto the float layer and return to refrigerator, again checking for levelness. Chill overnight.

When ready to serve, cut into squares, or use a cookie cutter for shapes, and pull up carefully, using a cake spatula to get under the float layer. Garnish with a blackberry and/or a thin wedge of candied lemon. Or simply slurp.