Jell-O is a childhood favorite. It's a staple in hospitals and on Chinese Buffets. A million recipes have been created using the fruit-flavored, gelatinous, protein, boiled animal skins and bones. AND at some point in time, some smart cookie added alcohol to the Jell-O, poured it into small cups and it became an easy way for a server to make some extra coin at bars and nightclubs as the Jell-O Shot. In the 80's, at the Edmonton bars I frequented like Denny Andrew's, Barry T's, Goose Loonies, The Thunderdome, Ezmerelda's, Club Malibu, Cook County, etc. Jell-O shots were THE thing! Cheap enough for someone to buy a round for a group or a guy to buy for a girl he liked.
Funny story that just came to mind... in those days, Drivers Licenses, Government IDs, even library cards were sent out to be laminated. Most companies did not own laminators. My mom just so happened to work for a laminating firm called Photo Ident. Well, Photo Ident just also happened to do all the VIP cards for all the big name Nightclubs in town. My mom was pretty awesome! I was everyone's best friend, bypassing all the long lineups with my Fake-but-Real VIP cards!!! I digress....back to the topic....these bars in the 80s made a killing from Jell-O Shots. I can't even guess how many Jell-O shots I have had in my lifetime. When I had my bar in Edmonton, Na Zdorovya Ukrainian Pub, on special occasions we would make blue and yellow vodka Jell-O shots. One of my favorite memories occurred at at 'The Hall' (Ukrainian Youth Unity Complex in Edmonton) at one Malanka (Ukrainian New Years) night when my Baba and her best buddy Pani Iwanyshyn did Jell-O shots with me and a friend James.
Over the years, my attendance at nightclubs has seen a sharp decline as has my enjoyment of Jell-O shots. Every once in a while though, I revive the tradition. One revival in 2014, with my side gig with NYR Organic, a consultant of mine earned the Suite room at our Summer Conference in Phoenix. We invited over a number of the representatives that came from the Head Office in London, UK for pre-dinner cocktails. Since we had a full kitchen at our disposal we decided to make a fun treat, and earlier in the day filled a Watermelon with Jell-O and Vodka. Sliced it up and served it to the unsuspecting Brits. The theme song I played while serving the treats was the Watermelon Crawl. I think a video exists somewhere of the dance I came up with as well. Needless to say, the Director of the company had 5 slices!!! Since then I have recreated the Watermelon Jell-O Shots a few more times. Most notably at Bandura camp and the latest was for our July 1, 2021 Canada Day celebration. This time, because we had some minors attending I made a boozy version for the adults and a kid-friendly version sans vodka!
After posting the pics on social media I had a flurry of requests for the recipe. I used an online recipe myself but found it was too small of a supply for a large watermelon. So I redid it for YOUR next event! Luckily, we have leftovers, so we will have Jell-O shots in a few days on the 4th of July. Happy Independence Day and don't Drink and Drive!!!
This recipe below will fill half a large watermelon. I doubled it because I knew the kids at the party would also want some once they saw the adults having Jell-O. So before I added the vodka, I filled one of the halves with the nonalcoholic Jell-O mix. Then, I added the vodka to what was left and then poured it into the other half. Be sure you mark which one is alcoholic and keep them separated so the kids don’t get mixed up (and so you don’t get mixed up in the fridge and have to sample both! ) I put the adult one on the bar, and the kids one on the dessert table and labeled them appropriately.
McD's WATERMELON VODKA JELLO SHOT SLICES
Ingredients and supplies to fill half a large watermelon:
There are other recipes online. Just search ‘sliced watermelon Jell-O’. There’s these little cute ones made in a lime half. Also be aware each Jell-O slice is like a shot of vodka. They catch up to you if you have more than one slice! Drink/Eat Responsibly!