Halloween Recipe: “Fancy” Jell-O Shots

Two party-friendly shooters that would make Bill Cosby proud.

Bourbon-based Psych Ward Jell-O shots bring the right amount of crazy to any party. Photograph courtesy of Jack Rose.

Remember Jell-O shots in college: the ingenious combination of Jell-O packets and vodka that leave your mouth red and your mind blank? Well, now there’s an adult way to enjoy those boozy wiggle-bombs. Jack Rose barkeeps Nick Lowe and Trevor Frye took our challenge to gussy up the ol’ sorority favorite for all of your Halloween party fun, no Kraft Foods product needed. The best part: You must make both recipes in advance to let the gelatin set the cocktail, so they’re hassle-free come party time. Unless, of course, that guy in the Miley Cyrus costume takes one too many. 


The Psych Ward

Makes eight 2-ounce shots 

3 ounces unflavored gelatin
½ cup warm water
¾ cup Bulleit Bourbon
2 ounces Combier orange liqueur (available at specialty liquor stores) or triple sec
2 ounces grenadine
2 ounces lemon juice
Red food coloring, as needed


The Black Widow

Makes eight 2-ounce shots

3 ounces unflavored gelatin
½ cup warm water
¾ cup Pinnacle candied apple vodka
2 ounces Fernet
3 ounces Temps Fugit crème de cacao
2 ounces lime juice
Red, green, and blue food coloring, as needed


For both recipes:

In a bowl or small pitcher, dissolve the gelatin in warm water. Add the spirits and juices and mix until combined. Divide into small cups or shot glasses, and let set in the refrigerator for at least six hours. 

Drink responsibly. 

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.