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The History of Jello Shots

They’re fun, they’re easy to make and everybody loves them. Yes, we’re talking about jello shots – possibly the BEST use ever invented for jello and definitely NOT for the kids.

If you’ve never tried preparing your own jello shots, you can learn how to make them here. As you’ll see, they’re just about foolproof and they’re very versatile. 

Champagne Jello Shots Photo

You can use whatever alcohol you (or your guests) prefer and you can add whatever little extras you like. This means you can customize them to suit whatever occasion your party is for. 

Celebrating someone’s engagement? Bring on the Champagne Jello Shots! Is it Halloween? Throw a few gummy worms in that jello to create shots no one will forget!

And the great thing is that you don’t need to plan ahead. Jello shots don’t take too long to set, so if you have a sudden urge to produce them at your next party, you can easily whip them up that afternoon!

Champagne Jello Shots Picture

But have you ever stopped to wonder about the history of jello shots? Who was the bright spark first who first hit upon the idea of mixing alcohol with jello, thereby turning a kids’ party treat into one the adults can enjoy too?

Well, there are two versions of the history of jello shots. The first actually dates back to a book from 1862 called ‘How to Mix Drinks, or The Bon Vivant’s Companion’ by Jerry Thomas. Incredibly, the book contains a recipe for a punch jelly – possibly the first ‘jello shot’ ever created.

How Long do Jello Shots Take to Set Pic

But there’s a far more interesting story to explain their history, and this one only dates back to the 1950s.

An American singer-songwriter called Tom Lehrer was in the US military at the time, where alcoholic beverages were forbidden. Quick-thinking Tom decided to get around this rule by turning alcohol from a ‘beverage’ into a ‘food’ to be enjoyed at his Christmas party. After a bit of experimentation, he added vodka to orange jello – and partygoers have been thanking him ever since for his brilliant creation!

Did you know…?

…That there is even a song about jello shots, written by the (legendary?) Luke Ski. One of the verses sums up how Tom’s invention came to be…

How Long do Jello Shots Take to Set Picture

The folks still remember, it was late December

Of ’56, that was the case.

Serving in the Army, Tom’s planned Christmas party,

No spirits allowed on the base.

‘Sneak it in?’ you may ask, ‘in a small metal flask?’

No way, ’cause those Sergeants could smell a tin.

So do what you oughta’, use vodka, not water,

Inside a dessert made of gelatin.

How Long do Jello Shots Take to Set Photo

If that’s got you intrigued, you can read the entire song here.

More ideas to get the party started…

Mexican Hot Chocolate Shots

Paloma Cheesecake Shots

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cocktail Recipe