Here’s how to make red, white, and blue jello shots for the 4th of July

Aside from fireworks and floating in a pool, making red, white, and blue jello shots are an almost necessary addition to any 4th of July party. But you have to hurry up if you’re planning on whipping a batch for your BBQ, because patriotic jello shots take a lot more time than regular jello shots. The trick is letting each layer of jello set before you add the next one, so if the bottom layer isn’t totally cold by the time you add the white later, you’ll likely end up with purple shots. Which, really, is not so terrible. America’s Founding Fathers were all about a little improvisation, after all.

You have two choices about how you layer your shots. If you have a cool cookie cutter and want them in shapes, you can build out the layers in a brownie pan and then stamp them out to serve. Or get a bunch of tall plastic shot glasses, like in this recipe from Brit+Co, so you don’t have to think about doing anything extra by the time they’re ready and just play in the pool.

Here’s what you need.

1 box of red Jello

1 box of blue Jello

1 envelope of unflavored gelatin (like Knox’s)

1 14 ounce can of condensed milk

2 3/4 cups of water

2 cups of white liquor (like an unflavored vodka or rum, though Malibu coconut rum works, too.

Here’s what to do.

Boil one cup of water and add it to the red Jello powder and stir it until it all dissolves. Add a cup of the liquor and mix it in. Pour the mix into a baking pan or shot glasses and just fill up one third of the way. Put ’em in the fridge for 3-4 hours or until done.

When it’s all set, mix 3/4 cup of boiling water to the unflavored gelatin until it dissolves. Add the condensed milk and stir.

Choose your own adventure!

There are a few ways to go with this white layer, especially since it’s the hardest part. One alternate route is that if you want to add a little more booze to this layer, you can.

But know that this will make the shots strong AF and you will have a headache later.

Another way, especially if you’re running around last minute and can’t find unflavored gelatin in the baking aisle at your grocery store or whatever’s actually open on the holiday, is to take Kristi Murphy’s advice and use heavy whipping cream and sugar to make the white part. Note: If you go this route, you’ll add the white layer last, like she does with these beauties.

OK, back to business.

If you’re making the gelatin white layer, pour it over the red layer and then put in fridge to set for another 3-4 hours or until done.

Once the red and white is set, dissolve the blue Jello powder in 1 cup of boiling water. Add a cup of liquor. Pour the blue on top of the white and red and let it set in the fridge for another 3-4 hours or until done.

One more thing.

If you only have time for two layers because you didn’t think of this until your friends started coming over to hang in your backyard, you can do just the red and blue parts and just add some whipped cream on top at the end, too. Voila! It’s America’s birthday!

There are a bazillion ways to make Jello shots — it’s all about balancing just enough booze and being patient about letting the layers set. Once you get the hang of it, you can try this out with different color schemes for all of your parties. Enjoy responsibly, please!

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