When I threw a going-away party for my friend Lisa on Friday, I made some of that jiggly party staple: jello shots! Little did I realize that some awesome (and bored) sciency-types have a website dedicated to a series of experiments to determine how much vodka can be added to jello shots before they lose their gelainous cohesion. The way that I made mine is “the normal way,” where you add 1 cup boiling water to the Jello packet, stir for 2 minutes until the mix is completely dissolved, and then add 1 cup vodka (instead of water). This yields jello shots which are not overwhelmingly alcoholic and quite cohesive. But c’mon, messing with the recipe like that made me wanna push it to the limit and find the Holy Grail of jello shots. How much booze is too much?
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The folks at MyScienceProject.org set out to answer this question:
The purpose of this experiment was to determine the highest possible concentration of alcohol attainable in a Jell-O shot, while still maintaining the structural integrity (i.e., the gelling properties) of the gelatin.
To answer this, they systematically added vodka and subtracted water in varying proportions, cataloging the resulting batches’ integrity and taste. A few interesting conclusions:
1. The biggest factor for ‘gelling’ was to completely dissolve the jello mix in enough boiling water. This was determined to be 4 oz at a minimum. Any less would result in a sludge.
2. The maximum amount of vodka you can add, and the jello still will gel, is 19 oz of vodka. Thats right, 4oz of boiling water followed by 19 oz of vodka will still yield a cohesive shot.
3. Said jello shot (the batch with 19 oz of vodka) will taste REALLY alcoholic, the equivalent of doing a pure vodka shot. The happy medium of taste and cohesiveness is around 14 oz of vodka.
4. You can actually get a lot more milage out of a single packet of Jello mix than what is suggested on the box, about one-third more, actually, and still have firm Jello shots. Adding more liquid (in vodka form) doesn’t make a huge difference in taste either.