This is a seriously fun dessert. You have to keep in mind, though, that every serving contains a full shot of alcohol, which you’re consuming in about a minute. I’m hesitant to liken this to a Jell-O shot, because unlike the latter, it tastes good. The alcohol isn’t in the foreground; instead, it adds a bit of background spice to the fruit flavors. (But yeah, it’s pretty much 20 Jell-O shots.)
5 small packages (3 oz.) flavored Jell-O in the following colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue
1 large package (6 oz.) flavored Jell-O: purple
7 tsp plain gelatin powder (3½ envelopes)
1 fifth flavored vodka, “whipped cream” preferred
16 oz. vanilla yogurt
A. Chill the bottle of vodka in the freezer for no less than 2 hours. (It’s easiest to put it in the freezer the night before.) B. Spray a standard-size, non-stick Bundt pan lightly with non-stick spray. Gently wipe away excess. Pan should have a light film of oil. Set aside. C. Line up the Jell-O boxes in the following order: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple. You’ll start with the red box, and work your way through to the purple. Purple belongs on the bottom of the rainbow, so it should be the last color to go into the mold.
Directions: Layering all colors except purple
1. Sprinkle 1 tsp unflavored gelatin over ¾-cup water in a small saucepan. Set aside for 2 minutes. 2. Place saucepan over low heat and set a timer for 5 minutes. Immediately begin to whisk the gelatin into the water, to break up any clumps. Then switch to a spoon and stir until gelatin is fully dissolved. Add a package of Jell-O and whisk or stir vigorously until the timer goes off. (The Jell-O should go in no later than the 3-minute mark, so that it winds up being whisked for no less than 2 minutes.) Off heat. Add ½-cup of vodka and stir to combine. Return the vodka bottle to the freezer. 3. If your saucepan doesn’t have a pour spout, pour the Jell-O from the pan into a 2-cup liquid measure. Then, use the 2-cup liquid measure to fill a ¾-cup measure with Jell-O and pour the rest into a small bowl.
4. This step varies, depending on the layer.
4a. For the first Jell-O color, Pour the ¾-cup measure of Jell-O into the Bundt pan with as little splashing as possible. A funnel might be helpful. Place the mold in the refrigerator. Place the small bowl of set-aside Jell-O in the refrigerator also. Practice the saxophone for five minutes, then go on to Step 5.
4b. For subsequent Jell-O colors, spoon the new layer in place as soon as the Jell-O in the mold is ready for it. Until then, allow the freshly-made batch of Jell-O to rest on the countertop. One you’re able to add the Jell-O to the mold, place the mold and the small bowl of set-aside Jell-O in the refrigerator. Relax for five minutes, then go on to Step 5.
5. After five minutes have passed, remove the small bowl of Jell-O from the fridge. Whisk in 3 Tbs yogurt, one at a time, thoroughly, until fully incorporated. Allow the Jell-O-yogurt mixture to sit on the countertop while you check the mold. Check the Jell-O in the mold by gently jiggling the bowl. If it clearly looks like it’s partially liquid, set a timer for five minutes and check it again when the timer goes off. Repeat as often as necessary until it doesn’t look liquid. At that point, touch it lightly with your finger. If any Jell-O adheres to your finger, set a timer for two-to-five minutes and check it again when the timer goes off. Repeat as often as necessary, until it comes just to the point that Jell-O no longer adheres to your finger. The Jell-O will feel sticky or tacky, but your finger will pull away clean. You need to be careful to catch it right at this point and not too far beyond it. If the Jell-O reaches this point before your ready for the next layer, take it out of the refrigerator. NOTE: timing will vary dramatically from layer to layer. The first layer takes perhaps 20 minutes, but some of the later layers might take only five. 6. Remove the mold from the refrigerator and gently spoon the Jell-O-yogurt mixture into the mold. Lower the spoon very near to the surface of the Jell-O in the mold before gently ladling out its contents, so that it doesn’t disturb the lower layer. This is monotonous and time consuming, but if you pour the Jell-O into the mold, you will definitely disturb the lower layers, no matter how careful you think you can be – although, you can use the funnel to good effect. Return the mold to the fridge and return to Step 1 to work on the next Jell-O color.
Directions: The purple layer
Because you’re using a large box of purple Jell-O, you must double the plain gelatin, vodka, and yogurt. Aside from that, follow the same procedure outlined for the other colors.
Unmolding your incredible vodka infused rainbow Jello mold
Cover the finished mold with foil, being careful that the foil doesn’t rest on the Jell-O. Refrigerate overnight. To unmold, fill a sink with warm water. Use your fingers to loosen the gelatin around the edges of the mold. Next, dip the mold almost to the edge into the warm water for 10 seconds. Place the mold on a dry towel and use the edges of the towel to dry the sides of the mold. Place a serving plate on top of the mold and invert.
The Bundt pattern is made up of alternating smaller and larger segments. Unfortunately, the pattern doesn’t lend itself to 20 divisions easily. However, you can guesstimate this. Imagine that you overlayed the Bundt pattern with a clock face. Note that the 12, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions coincide with smaller-segment peaks. Make your first slice at 6 o’clock and your second slice at 3 o’clock. Next, you’re going to remove the smaller segment that sits in between 4 and 5 o’clock, but you want to be a bit generous with it, increasing it by about 1 minute on either side. That leaves you with two larger slices, each of which needs to be cut in half. This should produce five roughly-equal pieces from ¼ of the mold.
Epilogue: December 9, 2015
No kidding, this is a lot of work. But believe me, when you roll into your party and pop the top off your tote to reveal this monster, it will become part of what defines you. I brought one of these to a BBQ, at which most of the people had already had maybe one or two beers. A minute or two after serving it, you’d’ve thought Miley Cyrus showed up with Justin Bieber on a leash. It got wild and crazy. Forever after I became not just “Jeff,” but “Jeff … remember when he brought that vodka rainbow to the BBQ?” My friends repeatedly make me swear to never make one again. And then minutes later they ask when I’m going to make another one.
If you’re not feeling especially gay, but you are feeling festive, check out the Wild Red Vodka Wave, a similar creation with a different theme.