Retro Red, White & Boozy Jell-O Dessert

By: Victoria Belanger

There’s something about Jell-O — chilled, jiggly gelatin in an array of fruity flavors and colors — that screams summertime. The easy, from-a-box dessert is perfect for hot summer days, transforming from spoonable treat to cool liquid once it hits the tongue. Set the gelatin in some shapely molds, mix in a few surprising ingredients and — voila! You've got yourself a perfect warm-weather party dessert with a wow factor.

To kick off my series of posts for Cooking Channel, and to celebrate July 4th, I’ve created a Jell-O mold with an elegant, adult twist (think: Jell-O shot meets dinner party dessert). Strawberries and blueberries are suspended in boozy, effervescent, ginger ale-laced gelatin, and topped with whipped cream for that full red, white and blue effect.

Sparkling, Spiked Summer Berry Jell-O
Makes: 6 cups
3 tablespoons (3 envelopes) of unflavored gelatin powder
3/4 cup cold water
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
2 1/2 cups ginger ale
1/2 cup rum (or water to make it non-alcoholic)
1 cup sliced strawberries
1 cup blueberries
Whipped topping to garnish (optional)

To make the sparkling berry Jell-O mold:

In a large bowl, sprinkle 3 tablespoons (3 packages) of unflavored gelatin over the cold water and allow the gelatin to absorb the water for 2 minutes. Stir in the boiling water until gelatin is fully dissolved.

Stir in the sugar and brown sugar until it is dissolved. Stir in the ginger ale and the rum.

Refrigerate 2 cups of the gelatin mixture until it thickens to the consistency of a gel.

Arrange strawberries in a formation in the bottom of a 6-cup mold and gently spoon the thickened gelatin into the mold over the strawberries. Refrigerate until gelatin is set but not firm. It should stick to your finger when touched so that the next layer will adhere to it but not be so soft that the next layer bleeds into it. Depending on the timing, you may need to leave the gelatin in the mold at room temperature while you prepare the next layer so that it does not become too firm before the next layer is ready.

Meanwhile, refrigerate the remaining gelatin mixture until it has thickened to the consistency of a gel. Fold in blueberries and gently spoon into mold over strawberry layer. Refrigerate until firm, about 8 hours or overnight.

To unmold, fill a sink, basin or large bowl with warm water. Dip the mold just to the rim in the warm water for about 15 seconds. Lift from water, hold upright and shake slightly to loosen the gelatin from mold. Place a cold, moistened plate over the top of the mold and flip the mold and plate upside down. Carefully lift the mold from the plate. If gelatin does not release, dip the mold in the warm water and try again.

Garnish with whipped topping and serve.

Tip: If you don’t have a collection of gelatin molds on hand, try some mold alternatives such as bundt pans, loaf pans, metal mixing bowls or large food storage containers. If you want to dive right in a buy a mold, eBay is the best place to start your search.

Want more Jell-O?
Make Chuck's sunny Honey Tangerine Gelatin
Watch Alie & Georgia prepare a sweet, spiked berry Jell-O salad
Get even more great summer dessert recipes

Victoria Belanger is the author of Hello, Jell-O!: 50+ Inventive Recipes for Gelatin Treats and Jiggly Sweets . She creates craft Jell-O molds in unexpected flavors and artistic presentations for her blog The Jello Mold Mistress of Brooklyn. Her jello has been featured in The New York Times , Oprah.com , The Splendid Table radio show, The Chew talk show, and Apartment Therapy’s: The Kitchn , to name a few. Additionally, Victoria works as a photographer and enjoys exploring the five boroughs of New York City by bicycle.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Mint Julep Jell-O: Cocktails Meet Dessert

Get Cooking Channel's recipe for a spiked mint julep-flavored Jell-O mold with blackberries and bourbon.

Mix It Up: Breadcrumbs in Ice Cream

Discover a new way to mix up your ice cream recipes -- breadcrumbs. Cooking Channel shares several ideas for mixing in breadcrumbs to your ice cream desserts.

Giveaway: Cookout-Themed Cookies!

Cooking Channel is giving away one batch of cookout-themed Peapods Cookies to one lucky winner. Comment for a chance to win.

Summer Fest: Plum Good Sweets

Get Cooking Channel's best plum dessert recipes, including Plum Upside Down Cake, Kelsey Nixon's Berry Crisp with Plums and more.

Pretzel Peach Pie: The Salty-Sweet Side of Summer

To celebrate peak peach season, I’m pairing the stone fruit with pretzels in a pie that has the perfect amount of crunch.

Summer's Hottest Ice Cream Flavors

Every year, ice cream store owners across the country predict which flavors will be the most popular. Dave Powitz shares the early ice cream trends from this summer.

Cookbook Giveaway: People's Pops

Get sample recipes on Cooking Channel from the new People's Pops cookbook, People's Pops: 55 Recipes for Ice Pops, Shave Ice, and Boozy Pops.

Fresh Homemade Strawberry Jell-O

Cooking Channel shows you how to make your own Jell-O that's better than the boxed kind using fresh strawberries and gelatin.

On TV

Pick a Side!

The Snackdown

In our new animated series, we debate the most-pressing food matters of our time, like is cereal a soup?

So Much Pretty Food Here