Jell-O shots bring back memories of nights spent at friends' apartments in college with cheap vodka and sticky fingers. The Jell-O was more of a means to suck down the sub-par liquor than something you savored or bragged about the next day. But Freya Estreller, co-founder of Coolhaus ice cream, is looking to change your mind about the co-ed party shooter.
"They were fun, but kind of gross, made with low-grade alcohol and artificial Jell-O packages," said Estreller. "Going along with the same thing we did with Coolhaus, we wanted to pick something that is fun and take it to a more elevated level."
Estreller is making a version of Jell-O shots for grown-ups called Ludlows Jelly Shots. Estreller and Ethan Feirstein came up with the idea for jelly shots after dinner one night in New York on Ludlow Street. The two created Ludlows Cocktail Co. and started making jelly shots with premium liquors and all-natural ingredients.
The shots come pre-packaged in five flavors including Fresh Lime Margarita with premium tequila, Triple Sec, lime and salt; Moscow Mule with premium vodka, ginger and lime; Planter's Punch with pineapple, lime, cherry, orange and two-year barrel-aged rum from Trinidad; Meyer Lemon Drop with lemon, rosemary and premium vodka; and Old Fashioned with two-year aged bourbon, orange and bitters.
"We didn't want them to be too sweet," said Estreller. "We were very careful to make them taste like the actual cocktails."
Each individual jelly cup will have 50 milliliters of 30-proof alcohol. Estreller says two cups are the equivalent of drinking almost five ounces of a strong glass of wine.
The jelly shots will be sold in packs of five for $12.49. Ludlows Cocktail Co. has set up a Kickstarter to help raise funds for full production, but Estreller says you can expect to see the shots in select stores in California later this summer and, if all goes well, in larger outlets by the end of the year.
"We wanted to make it convenient so you don't have to go through the whole process of boiling the water, making the Jell-O, waiting for it to jellify," said Estreller. "And instead of buying a $12 or $13 bottle of wine, you could bring our five-pack of jelly shots and really up the party."
Estreller says early testers have liked to take their time eating the shots with a spoon after a meal instead of shooting them back.
"Ready-to-drink cocktails have been bastardized and they don't get much respect in the industry," said Estreller. "We're trying to bring quality products into that realm with possible bottled punch bowls or boxed punch bowls that actually taste good in the future."
You can wait to buy the jelly shots in stores or you can get a taste at one of the cocktail crawls Ludlows Cocktail Co. has set up for August. The crawls are $50 per person with one in Hollywood Aug. 13, another on the Westside Aug. 20 and a final one in downtown Aug. 27. Each ticket includes a visit to three bars, Uber transportation between bars and a Ludlows Jelly Shot paired with a cocktail at each bar. After drinks, Coolhaus ice cream treats and a custom Ludlows Cocktail Co. swag bag. Tickets are available on Eventbrite.com.