Kansas City Jello Shots

I left college when I was 19 so I never got to experiment with alcohol, with the sole exception of Danielle and me sneaking Chambord into a Sacher Torte cake. So I've never played beer pong, never been blackout drunk (though I consider this a personal achievement), and never had a jello shot. I'm working to right that last wrong. There's a bar in Chapel Hill called Top of the Hill that makes a cocktail called Kansas City Ice Water. It is everything you want in a cocktail — sweet, sour, easy drinking and cheap to make. After quite a lot of trial and error, I'm pleased to say I have improved on the drink by making it into a jello shot. True to the drink, they don't taste boozy so the alcohol sneaks up on you. I don't consider that a bad thing.

A few notes on making this: don't use your best quality gin and vodka, but make sure they're both 80-proof (40% alcohol/volume) to maintain the stability of the gelatin. You can use a different soda, but 7-up isn't that sweet, so you'll need to adjust the amount of sugar accordingly. Don't bother with Jell-O brand gelatin, it doesn't set as well as Knox brand and the flavors are nasty. Lastly, it will be almost totally transparent, so add a few drops of food coloring if you'd like.


  • 3 fluid ounces gin
  • 7 fluid ounces citron or lemon vodka
  • 6 fluid ounces 7-up soda
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 cups 7-up soda
  • 2 tablespoons to ¼ cup sugar, depending on your taste
  • 4 ounces Knox unflavored powdered gelatin


  1. Combine the first four ingredients in a large bowl and set in the fridge to chill. This is important to keep the hot ingredients from cooking off the alcohol and weakening the shots.
  2. In a small pot, combine the 2 cups soda and 2 tablespoons sugar. Bring to a boil to dissolve all the sugar. Taste for sweetness.
  3. While stirring slowly, slowly pour the hot soda into the chilled mixture. Stirring slowly helps it to cool evenly and prevent a buildup of foam. If there is a lot of foam, skim it off as the foam will set, which is unsightly.
  4. Pour into shot cups or a tin to set in the fridge, at least 4 hours. Enjoy responsibly!