Old Fashioned Jelly Shots Recipe

Old fashioned jelly shot
Photographs: Amy Webster & Michelle Palm

It's easy to reimagine light, fruit juice based drinks as jelly shots, but what about more serious cocktails? For my first foray into the world of Jelly Shot Test Kitchen, I decided to tackle a classic, the Old Fashioned, to see how it would fare in jelly form.

While the Old Fashioned is definitely not a beginner's cocktail, it does have a hint of sweetness, making its transition into a jelly shot a bit less mind-bending. The recipe starts with a sweet Bitters Syrup: a mix of sugar, water, and lots of Angostura. A packet of Knox gelatin is added to the syrup along with a few spoonfuls of maraschino cherry juice and simmered until the gelatin dissolves. In order to keep the integrity of this boozy cocktail, the bourbon is stirred in once the mixture has been taken off of the heat. Poured into a shallow pan and left to chill for a few hours, your Old Fashioned Jelly Shots hardly take any more time than mixing one up on the rocks.

When it's time to serve, you can certainly get creative with cookie cutters and crazy shapes, but since this is such a classic cocktail, you can stick with an understated square garnished with slivers of orange and maraschino cherry. While the texture is pretty wild, the flavors of these Old Fashioned Jelly Shots are spot on, with sweet cherries and caramel-like bourbon and a hint of aromatic bitters.

As always with our Drink the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Jelly Shot Test Kitchen to give away this month.

Adapted from Jelly Shot Test Kitchen by Michelle Palm. Copyright © 2011. Published by Running Press. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved.

Recipe Facts

Active: 20 mins
Total: 4 hrs
Makes: 18 to 24 jello shots

Rate & Comment


  • For the Bitters Syrup:
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 9 tablespoons Angostura bitters
  • For the Jelly Shots:
  • 2/3 cup soda water
  • 2/3 cup Bitters Syrup
  • 2 tablespoons maraschino cherry juice
  • 2 envelopes Knox gelatin
  • 2/3 cup bourbon or scotch whiskey
  • Orange slices and maraschino cherries for garnish, if desired


  1. For the Bitters Syrup: Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat until mixture boils, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

  2. For the Jelly Shots: Combine soda water, bitters syrup, and cherry juice in a small saucepan and sprinkle with the gelatin. Allow gelatin to soak for a minute or two. Heat over very low heat until gelatin is dissolved, stirring constantly, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add whisky, stirring well to blend. Pour into pan and refrigerate until fully set, several hours or overnight.

  3. Cut orange and cherries into small slivers for garnish.

  4. To serve, cut set gelatin into desired shapes and garnish as desired.

Special equipment

1-pound loaf pan (8" x 4"/20 x 10 cm)