The Friday Football Foodie – Mint Julep Jelly Shots
While most people think of beer when they think of football and tailgating, I love bourbon-based drinks and football.
It wasn’t always this way. I spent my 21st birthday at Lafayette for the Leigh-Lafayette Rivalry weekend, and when I arrived at my friend’s dorm he handed me a handle of Jim Beam with the direction, “This is your weekend.” Obviously “your weekend” meant drinking so much I passed out on top of a Suburban before the game, getting a firm handshake from a high school crush/boy-I-occasionally-fooled-around-and-I-always-wanted-it-to-be-more-but-it wasn’t-who-happened-to-attend-Lafayette when I happened to pass by him at some party, and sleeping in the spare bed of a guy with the appropriately occupational name, Stoner.
It was years before I could even stand the smell of bourbon again, but once we became friends again, I realized why it made for such a good football drink. Sweet and warm, it’s an autumn afternoon in a bottle. Mint juleps, long the standard for hot summer days in the South, really are not made for tailgating, what with all the shaved ice and fancy silver cups and such. But a “jelly” — we’re avoiding the brand name here — shot was made to take to parties and tailgates.
You will run into the occasional fan who cries, “Jello shots! You’re going to get WASTED! I had Jello shots in Cabo once and woke up with a Tasmanian devil tattoo on my ass! And not even a cartoon Taz tattoo, like a picture out of the National Geographic REAL Tasmanian devil tattoo on my ass! JELLO SHOTS! WOOOOO!”
This person, of course, is an asshole. You’re not going to get wasted on a typical jelly shot. You’re not going to get wasted on two jelly shots. Based on the recipe below, each jelly shot has less than half an ounce of bourbon in it. You’d have to eat six or seven jelly shots before matching the alcohol content of a typical bourbon cocktail, and who wants to be the asshat at the party who stands there and eats all the jelly shots? (Other than the same asshat who brings a six-pack of Natty Ice to the party and then grabs a Stone Brewery Ruination out of the cooler.)
But if you are the person eating a dozen jelly shots AND pounding beers AND sneaking in a flask to the game, make sure you do have a designated driver, unlike that bearded-Braylon Edwards who was too stupid to even take the free — FREE! — car service offered by his employer, the New York Jets before being arrested for a DWI yesterday. Which, are you kidding me? When my husband offers to drive me to the market and I’m like, “FUCK YEAH! I can mess with the radio and NOT worry about driving!” And that’s when I’m sober! Edwards has a service that will drive him around when he’s drunk — free! — and he passes it up? Who would have thought that LeBron’s posse would be in the right about Edwards.
What makes it worse — aside of the fact that he was drinking and driving — is that based on the handy smartphone app RU Buzzed, Edwards’ listed weight of 214, and the time of his arrest (5am, so I estimated he had been drinking for eight hours), would have had to consume at least 12-16 drinks before blowing a .16% BAC. That’s 12-16 times he could have thought to himself, “I’m having a drink, I should call that number and get a free ride. Or at least take a taxi. Shit, I am wasted.”
Unreal. And just an ancillary note to the above; if your friend is the designated driver this weekend, be cool and offer to drive the next time. It’s crummy to never offer up a turn being the designated driver and your pals will resent you for it. (I know a guy who bought a truck a few years ago over a car partially because he wouldn’t have to be the DD as often. That’s a commitment to drinking and sticking it to your friends.)
Mint Julep Jelly Shots
You will need:3/4 cup of sugar
3/4 cup of water
1 cup of bourbon (Any ole’ type of bourbon will do. No need to use the fancy stuff, because you’re just going to boil it.)
2 packets of unflavored gelatin
3 bunches of mint (One for the simple syrup, two for garnishing.)
Heat the water and the sugar over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, and then add 1 bunch of mint leaves to the syrup. Boil for two to three minutes, and strain out the mint. Reduce heat to low and allow to cool slightly. Slowly stir two packets of unflavored gelatin into 1 cup of bourbon. (Don’t worry if the gelatin does not dissolve all the way just yet.) Combine with the mint simple syrup and stir over low heat for 3-5 minutes, until the gelatin is completely dissolved and has had time to open up and “bloom” in liquid.
Pour into a loaf pan (or an 8×8 pan), cover, and refrigerate for at least six hours until set completely. If need be, you can hurry the process along some by freezing for one hour and then refrigerating for 3-4 hours, but more often than not, I’ve found that when I try to hurry gelatin, I forget that I’ve put it in the freezer or the freezer is too cold and freezes the edge of the pan which is no good at all. Just plan ahead.
Each batch yields between 18-24 jelly shots and can easily doubled if cooled and set in two seperate pans.
Really though, you can make almost any cocktail into a jelly shot if you follow the 1 cup of liquid to 1 packet of unflavored gelatin, with the optimal size of the mix being 2-3 cups of liquid.
What about you? Do you ever make jelly shots for your tailgate? If so, share shots of your shots on our new Football Foodies Flickr page and a link back to your recipe.
Recipe inspired by Jelly Shot Test Kitchens, who have some very beautiful and tasty jelly shot recipes. (But no mint juleps jellies listed yet!)