Joy the Baker

Fresh Juice and Sweet Tea Shot Bites

May 19, 2014

Fruit Juice Shot Bites / joy the baker

My mom taught me the valuable lesson of never taking candy from a stranger.  I’m pretty sure she never said anything about taking Jell-O shots from a stranger.  Technicality?

I should preface this introduction by saying… don’t be like me.

A few weekends back I was celebrating Jazz Fest with some friends.  There’s a certain spirit here in New Orleans that I’ve never encountered anywhere else. As we left the all day music festival… dusty, sun-tired, and thirsty, we found ourselves smack-dab in the center of an epic neighborhood block party.  Backyard gates were open to reveal full bands playing to the street, people set up folding tables with steaming crock pots selling gumbo, grills racked with meats for sale or not sale, and…. in the midst of the happy chaos… a girl in a neon wig selling Jell-O shots off of a simple plastic tray.

I was like a moth to the flame.  Again… don’t be like me.

It took a whole 2.2 seconds of deliberation before one of my fine friends offered up dollars for the little novelty shots… from a stranger… in the streets.

It was good.  It was green.  It was Jell-O.  The moment felt exactly as it should, so right with a splash of reckless.

My block party Jell-O shot got me thinking about how I could fancy up Jell-O + vodka.  Oh the possibilities!

Would it be too soon to say I’ve found my new calling?  How about… I’ve found my Memorial Day Weekend calling:  super couture Jell-O shots, sans jello, added cucumber and gin.

YES.

fancy juice and tea shot bites / joy the baker

Notice that I’m calling these treats Shot Bites and not Jell-O Shots.

While they are small and jiggly and boozy, they are made from unflavored gelatin and not Jello-O brand stuffs.  Using unflavored gelatin give us some breathing room to create flavor combinations that move beyond the Jell-O box.  We really need to move beyond beyond beyond the Jell-O Box.

We’re talking about fresh cucumber juice, lots of lime juice, fresh ginger, strawberry puree from sweet strawberries… we’re going all out!

For these four recipes I used a few different ice cube trays:  

Hexagon Ice Cube Set.

Heart-Shaped Ice.

The Perfect Cube.

You might also consider mini disposable cups, or a mini muffin tin.  Choose your path.

Everything I learned about fancy Shot Bites I learned from The Kitchn.

Here are the basics:

Fresh Juice and Sweet Tea Shot Bite Math

1 cup liquor + 1 cup non-alcoholic liquid + 2 envelopes (5 1/2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin

Let’s talk about this math.  This formula represents the maximum amount of alcohol we can use to create these shot bites.  Any more alcohol will mess with the gelatin and our Shot Bites won’t set up properly.  Heed the math.  For each of these recipes, I used about 3/4 cup alcohol because I tend to like a less boozy bite (aka college was ten years ago).  We can just replace any of the missing alcohol with whatever non-alcoholic liquid we’re using. On that note, you could leave out the alcohol completely to make these bites family-friendly.  Remember, 2 cups total liquid meets 2 envelopes of gelatin.  With that math, you can make so many delicious things!

Sweet Tea, Bourbon, and Lemonade Shot Bites // joy the baker

First up!

Sweet Tea.  Ginger Lemonade.  Bourbon!

sweet tea and bourbon shot bites / joy the baker

Sweet Tea and Ginger Lemonade Shot bites start with lightly sweetened tea.

This is a layered bite so it requires two juice mixtures and a bit more time.  Totally worth it!

sweet tea and bourbon shot bites / joy the baker

Powdered gelatin is added to the tea.

sweet tea and bourbon shot bites / joy the baker

Softening the gelatin over the iced tea creates waves.  I like this part.

With a bit of heat and a good dose of bourbon, we’ve got our bites!

Sweet Tea, Bourbon, and Lemonade Shot Bites // joy the baker

Sweet Tea and Ginger Lemonade Shot Bites

makes 15 cubes

1 1/4 cup iced tea (sweetened to your preference)

2 envelopes (5 1/2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin

3/4 cup bourbon

1 prepared recipe of Ginger Lemonade

Lightly spray an ice cube tray with non-stick cooking spray.  Wipe any excess collected spray from the ice cube tray.  Place iced tea in a small saucepan.  Sprinkle gelatin over the iced tea and allow to sit for 5 minutes.  The iced tea will wrinkle and wave but still be loose.  Heat over low heat for about 3 minutes until the gelatin is completely dissolved.  Don’t allow the gelatin to boil.  Remove from heat, stir in the bourbon and pour the iced tea and bourbon mixture into the prepared ice cube tray filling each cube halfway full.

Place in the refrigerator and allow to rest until set (at least an hour).  In the meantime, make the Ginger Lemonade.  When tea shots have set to mostly solid, remove from the refrigerator and top each tea gel with ginger lemonade.  Allow to rest in the fridge overnight until set completely.

To remove the cubes, invert the ice rube tray and run over warm water.  I also used a thin knife to slice around the edges and press out of the ice cube tray.  Allow to rest in the refrigerator until ready to serve.  

You’ll need: The Perfect Cube Tray

ginger lemonade shot bites / joy the baker

To make Ginger Lemonade, you can use store-bought or homemade lemonade.

I juiced a few lemons I had on hand and added a bit of fresh ginger and sugar to sweeten.  Judging by the honeycomb inspired ice cube tray I used, I should have used honey instead of sugar.

Ginger spice!  Not the Spice Girl… actual spice from ginger.

Ginger Lemonade Shot Bites / joy the baker

If you’re making this recipe for both Ginger Lemonade Shot Bites, and as a topping for the Sweet Tea Shot Bites, feel free to double this recipe.

Ginger Lemonade Shot Bites

makes 15 bites

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

3 tablespoons granulated sugar (or more to your taste)

1 scant cup water

(you can also just use 1 1/4 cup store-bought lemonade)

1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

2 envelopes (5 1/2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin

3/4 cup bourbon

Lightly spray an ice cube tray with non-stick cooking spray.  Wipe any excess collected spray from the ice cube tray.  Place lemon juice, sugar and water in a small saucepan.  Sprinkle gelatin over the lemonade and let sit for 5 minutes.  The lemonade will wrinkle and wave but still be loose.  Heat over low heat for about 3 minutes until the gelatin and sugar are completely dissolved.  Don’t allow the gelatin to boil.  Remove from heat, stir in the bourbon.

Pour the lemonade and bourbon mixture into the prepared ice cube tray or over the chilled Sweet Tea Shot Bites to fill.

Place in the refrigerator and allow to rest until set (at least 4 hour) or better yet, overnight.

To remove the cubes, invert the ice rube tray and run over warm water.  I also used a thin knife to slice around the edges and press out of the ice cube tray.  Allow to rest in the refrigerator until ready to serve.  

You’ll need: Hexagon Ice Cube Set

strawberry margarita shot bites / joy the baker

Strawberry Margaritas just feel like they’re too good to be true.  Make it into a Shot Bite and that’s it… I’m moving to the moon.

Strawberries are so lovely right now, we’re just blending them with a bit of sugar and water to create a pale pink strawberry puree.   Add fresh lime juice and we’re in Margaritaville (sorry/not sorry).

strawberry margarita shot bites / joy the baker

Smooth strawberry puree with lime.  Ready for the gelatin and a bit of heat.

Strawberry Margarita Shot Bites / joy the baker

Strawberry Margarita Shot Bites

makes 15 shot bites

1 heaping cup coarsely chopped fresh strawberries (I used about 8 strawberries)

1/4 cup water

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

2 envelopes (5 1/2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin

3/4 cup tequila

limes and sea salt for serving

Lightly spray an ice cube tray with non-stick cooking spray.  Wipe any excess collected spray from the ice cube tray.

Place strawberry chunks, water, and sugar in a blender and blend until smooth.  Measure out 1 cup of strawberry puree and stir in lime juice.

Place puree in a small saucepan.  Sprinkle gelatin over the puree mixture and allow to sit for 5 minutes.  The puree will wrinkle and wave but still be loose.  Heat over low heat for about 3 minutes until the gelatin is completely dissolved.  Whisk to combine.  Don’t allow the gelatin to boil.  Remove from heat, stir in the tequila.  Pour mixture into the prepared ice cube tray.

Place in the refrigerator and allow to rest until set (at 4 hours) or better yet, overnight.

To remove the cubes, invert the ice rube tray and run over warm water.  I also used a thin knife to slice around the edges and press out of the ice cube tray.  This may not be entirely necessary if using a shallow heart-shaped ice mold… they may come out more easily.  Allow to rest in the refrigerator until ready to serve.  

You’ll need: Heart-Shaped Ice Tray

cucumber green apple lime and gin shot bites / joy the baker

Can green juice also be just a little boozy?

You know the answer… YES!

cucumber green apple lime and gin shot bites / joy the baker

I used my juicer to make a simple cucumber and green apple juice.  Lime too!

If you don’t have a fancy juicer, you could totally grab a store-bought green juice and be just as happy!

Cucumber, Green Apple, Lime and Gin Shot Bites / joy the baker

Cucumber Green Apple Lime and Gin Shot Bites

makes 15 shot bites

1  1/4 cup cucumber green apple and lime juice (I made this from 1/2 cucumber, 1 green apple, and the juice of 2 limes using a juicer)

2 envelopes (5 1/2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin

3/4 cup gin

Lightly spray an ice cube tray with non-stick cooking spray.  Wipe any excess collected spray from the ice cube tray.  Place green juice in a small saucepan.  Sprinkle gelatin over the juice and let sit for 5 minutes.  The juice will wrinkle and wave but still be loose.  Heat over low heat for about 3 minutes until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Whisk well.  Don’t allow the gelatin to boil.  Remove from heat, stir in the gin.

Pour the green gin mixture into the prepared ice cube tray.

Place in the refrigerator and allow to rest until set (at least 4 hours) or better yet, overnight..

To remove the cubes, invert the ice rube tray and run over warm water.  I also used a thin knife to slice around the edges and press out of the ice cube tray.  Allow to rest in the refrigerator until ready to serve.  

You’ll need: The Perfect Cube Tray


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