Welcome, Playboy readers. The February 2004 Playboy Advisor column has a typo in the Margarita Jell-O Recipe. It should call for 1 large box of Lime Jell-O, not 4 cups of Lime Jell-O! (The large box is the 4-cup size.) Also I now recommend using 1 cup of cold water, not 1 1/4 cup, because that gives you a little wiggle room for adding extra ingredients (like with the strawberry variation.)
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Jell-O, as in Jell-O Brand Gelatine Dessert, is a trademark of Kraft General Foods (800-431-1001).
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This document is owned by C.M.J. (Chaz) Boston Baden, hazelweb at boston-baden.com, also known as "Hazel." I have compiled it myself from several sources: my own research; other jello fans mostly on EAT-L, FOODWINE, alt.fan.jimmy-buffett, and BUFFETT; and recipes I've created based on others' suggestions and feedback.
I am also indebted to Toby Gibson, toby-g at uic.edu, for his reference book "Boat Drinks," and David April, april at igcom.net, who first asked permission to put the Margarita Jell-O recipe recipe on the Parrot(t)heads' Jimmy Buffett Web Page.
The participants on the EAT-L and FOODWINE mailing list have been tolerant of my unusual hobby, and have dubbed me the Jell-O Maven. The Parrottheads on alt.fan.jimmy-buffet and the BUFFETT mailing list have taken to Margarita Jell-O like a duck to water, and have been advertising the recipe far and wide...
Thanks also to Pat Larson (nee Pat Lawrence), for reasons she'd know best. (Ahh, why be coy about it. She was my most enthusiastic taste-tester, before she got married and moved away.)
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I recommend making this substitution for 1/8 to 1/4 of the liquid volume. For a large box of Jell-O (4 cups liquid) that means substituting between 1/2 cup and 1 cup of water with liquor. I use 1/2 cup for 40-proof booze, 1/4 cup for 80-proof. For metric jelly packets that make 400 ml of dessert, substitute 100 ml of 40 proof (20% alc.) liqueur, *or* 50 ml of (80 proof) 40% alc. liquors such as gin.
The "recipe" part comes into play by judicious choices of the Jell-O flavor and the liquor or liqueur. For example, we have found that Orange (or Cherry) Jell-O and Brandy works well. And Peach Jell-O and Bourbon (such as Rebel Yell or Jack Daniels) is good. And Watermelon Jell-O and Midori Melon Liqueur (my "meloncoholic" version), and Raspberry Jell-O with Raspberry Schnapps. Get the idea?
I stumbled onto the discovery that the Sugar Free jell-o is a lot easier to work with, because there's less powder to mix up and dissolve. (The regular Jell-O has ten times as much!)
March 1994, Chaz Boston Baden, P.O. Box 17522, Anaheim CA 92817-7522
If you are using a special kind of booze (Everclear, for example) calculate the water substitution like this: Divide the proof by 10 (or divide the alcohol percentage value by 5%); then divide the total volume of water (in cups or ml) called for in the jell-o directions, by this number. Round off the arithmetic; this is bartending, not nuclear chemistry. This gives you the volume (in cups or ml) of booze to use, and how much to decrease the water by. (If using American-style Jell-O, reduce the cold water by the appropriate fraction of the total amount of water; for other jelly packets, just decrease the boiling water and mix in the booze after you've dissolved the jelly powder.)
The figures shown are for a small metric (400 ml) and for large american (4 cups: 8 servings) sizes; alcohol percentages and proofs are shown, and how much of the water should be exchanged for booze. If you have a small american box, take the large figures (in cups) and divide by two; or, use two boxes.
Booze Alc. Water Subst. Small: 400 ml Large: 4 cups 30-proof Liqueur 15% alc. 1/3 133 ml 1 1/3 cup 40-proof Liqueur 20% alc. 1/4 100 ml 1 cup 50-proof liqueur 20% alc. 1/4-1/5 80-100 ml 1 cup 80-proof Liquor 40% alc. 1/8 50 ml 1/2 cup 90-proof Liquor 45% alc. 1/8-1/10 40-50 ml 1/2 cup 100-proof Booze 50% alc. 1/10 40 ml 1/3 cup 150-proof Booze 75% alc. 1/15-1/16 25 ml 1/4 cup 190-proof Hooch 95% alc. 1/20 20 ml 1.5 oz. (shot)Find the approximate alcohol level, and substitute the booze for the corresponding amount of water... (cold water with the US Jell-O, or just use less boiling water for jelly packets). Note that if you're using Everclear, you should just put one shot in a large batch of Jell-O.
I was reading an advice column in a magazine. (It was the Playboy Advisor, if you must know.) The reader who wrote in essentially asked "what's the deal with jello shots." The columnist explained that you make your jello but you substitute booze for part of the water -- a high proportion of the water, I might add -- and let it set in individual servings (for example, in an ice cube tray). The end of the reply had the columnist suggesting combining compatible flavors, like orange and Vodka, or Lime and Tequila...
I decided this sounded interesting, and decided to cut back on the percentage of alcohol. I basically tinkered and changed the "shots" to an alcoholic dessert. (Shots get you drunk too quickly and with less enjoyment of the process, in my correct and unbiased opinion.) :)
I tried some basic combinations, somewhat timidly -- Raspberry Schnapps with Raspberry Jell-O, orange brandy (Grand Marnier) with Orange Jell-O, and so forth. I took it to parties, it was well received.
I then decided to tackle the margarita question. Unfortunately, I'm not a margarita drinker and don't care for Tequila, despite having a bottle given to me many years ago on my 21st birthday. I had to research margarita recipes... found out an important ingredient, besides lime juice and Tequila, was the orange liqueur: (Triple Sec, usually, but you could use Cointreau or Conroy's if you want to be autentico). Sources differed on the proportions of Tequila to Triple Sec ... 1:1, 3:1... so I made it 2:1. And didn't make it too strong, and served it up as jello, and took it to a party, and everyone loved it... Voila, ipso facto, q.e.d., Margarita Jell-O was born.
Also: among science fiction fans, "Lime Jell-O" has a special connotation dating back to an incident at a science fiction convention where an author was speculating out loud on things you might be able to do with a bathtub full of lime jello and a partner of the appropriate gender. He got back to his room that night and found his tub, full... finding a partner was presumably his department...
So after a decade or two of this being part of the lore, I thought it high time that someone promote another adults-only way to enjoy Lime Jell-O.
I did not come up with the idea of combining alcohol and gelatine. Unknown unsung college fratboys probably have that distinction, with their experiments in using a gallon of Vodka (or Everclear: 190-proof grain alcohol) and adding jello box after jello box until it sets. Not my style; I just came up with this diluted set of proportions for the margarita flavor.
That's how I got started...
Introduction | A-E | F-P | Q-Z | Non-alc. | Other Recipes | Pudding | Tips | FAQ | History | Flavors | Want Ads | Links | Gallery | Index | liquor | misc. ingredientsThe Jellophile / C.M.J. (Chaz) "Hazel" Boston Baden / hazelweb at boston-baden.com