JELL-O is known today as “America’s Most Famous Dessert.” It was invented by a cparenter named Pearle Bixby and his wife. Both lived in Rochester, New York, in the small town of Leroy, where they run a local cough syrup manufacturing, rather unsuccessfully, until 1897 when they trademarked a gelatin dessert which they named “Jell-O”. It was their idea to add flavoring and sugar to the patent of granulated gelatin of 1845. First flavors were strawberry, raspberry, orange and lemon.
A JELL-O Shot is made by complementing the water normally used to make JELL-O gelatin with an alcoholic beverage. The shot is normally served in shot glasses, plastic cups, or ice-cube trays. The exact origin of the JELL-O Shot is unknown.
One of the earliest mention of a gelatin and alcohol mixtures was a recipe of aspic flavored with wine in the Le Viandier de Taillevent in the 14th century, whereas aspic was known in the Arabic cooking since the 10th century.
In 1862, Jerry Thomas published his book ‘How to Mix Drinks, or The Bon Vivant’s Companion‘. He was the first in the US to publish a recipe for a “punch jelly” which is possibly the first “JELL-O Shot” ever created, despite the brand JELL-O trademarked 35 years later.
Another story places the invention of “JELL-O Shot” with Tom Lehrer in the 1950th. Tom was a US military, and alcoholic beverages were forbidden at the annual Christmas party on the military base. Tom decided though to hide the alcohol in “food” and got the idea to add vodka to JELL-O, and later decided his favorite to be orange and vodka JELL-O Shot. It was likely a very happy Christmas party, and thanks to Tom JELL-O Shots became an integral part of North American party culture until today.