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Every other week, Anna Hezel talks about the innovations, decorations, and other quiet touches that make a party memorable.
Today: Jelly shots grow up with rhubarb and Champagne (and gin).
I know what you're thinking. Jell-O shots? Don't those belong at a sorority party, stuffed stickily inside a fleet of wilting Dixie cups, on a tray resting haphazardly on a beer pong table?
Don't worry, I thought the same thing, and I wasn't an easy convert. When a friend recently mentioned that jelly shots were his go-to summer party crowd pleaser, I imagined artificial cherry flavoring tinged with acrid vodka. "No," he said, "they're fancy jelly shots. I read about them in the New York Times."
As it turns out, a few years ago, Toby Cecchini from the Times did his own bout of research on converting classic cocktails into jellied versions and created the Bramble Jelly Shot -- his jelly shot version of a gin bramble.
Inspired by Toby, I developed my own early summer jelly shot: a sparkly Champagne base spiked with gin and lemon juice, topped with a sweet, tart, perfectly pink rhubarb float. No artificial colors or flavors -- just fruit, sugar, gelatin, and alcohol. The result was refreshing little bright jewels of juicy flavor, with just a touch of alcohol -- a novel and unexpected treat.
Makes about 30 squares
For the rhubarb syrup:
1 pound rhubarb, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 cup lemon juice
1 cup water
2 cups sugar
For the jelly:
2 cups of rhubarb syrup, divided
8 packets powdered gelatin, like Knox
1 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup gin
1/4 cup sugar
3 cups Champagne
Photos by Anna Hezel
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