Ahh, Jell-O shots. What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear Jell-O shots? High school parties while parents were out of town? Dorm-room or frat-house parties in college? Probably not a high-falutin’ event like the Kentucky Derby, right? Here’s the thing about Jell-O shots… they seem to be making a resurgence among Generation X. Instead of serving cocktails at parties, Jell-O shots are being whipped up with complex flavor combinations and impeccably styled garnishes. They look like a piece of art, but taste just like their cocktail equivalents. With that in mind, I thought it would be fun to give the mint julep a Jell-O shot spin for the Kentucky Derby, which is taking place tomorrow.
Mint juleps are the Kentucky Derby drink of choice. Traditionally, it consists of bourbon, mint, sugar, and water, although there are also many variations that include lime. I, for one, love the addition of lime, as it reminds me of a mojito, so I chose to go the lime route when making these Jell-O shots. However, if you prefer your Mint Juleps without it, I provide a link below for a non-lime Mint Julep Jell-O shot.
The Kentucky Derby, also known as “The Run for the Roses” for the blanket of roses draped over the winner, is all about high-class, big hats, and drinks served in fancy silver cups. Grab a silver platter, a rose, and some mini cupcake liners, and suddenly your Jell-O shots have been transformed from frat house grunge to shabby chic.
Don’t forget to wash them down with some dessert! A piece of this Chocolate Bourbon Walnut Pie would be perfect!
Line a 9x9-inch square baking dish with plastic wrap, letting it hang over the sides of the pan; set aside.
Combine the water and mint leaves in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat, cover, and let steep for 15 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, remove the mint leaves from the saucepan and discard. Bring the water to a boil. Meanwhile, empty the Jell-O packets into a large bowl.
When the water comes to a boil, pour it over the Jell-O in the bowl. Stir with a wooden spoon until it has completely dissolved. Stir in the bourbon and lime juice. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and refrigerate until set, 1 to 2 hours.
Using the plastic wrap "handles", lift the square of Jell-O out of the pan. Use a sharp knife or pizza cutter to slice into squares. Garnish with mint leaves, if desired. Refrigerate leftovers.