Serve Jell-O Shots In Style With This Fancy Orange Peel Hack

"Jell-O shots" and "style" are two words (technically a phrase in the first instance) that are seldom found in close conjunction, and for good reason. Jiggly, sugary booze, after all, is something typically associated with frat parties and spring break bashes. Still, if you're in a nostalgic or ironic mood, it is possible to dress them up and give them a veneer of sophistication with a few fancy ingredients and a pretty presentation.

In this holiday-inspired recipe for cranberry Sidecar Thanksgiving Jell-O shots, developer Patterson Watkins is using brandy and orange liqueur instead of vodka. She mixes them with lemon juice to make something resembling the vintage cocktail known as a Sidecar, then combines it with cranberry Jell-O and allows it to set up inside several scooped-out orange peel shells. Once the Jell-O has gelled, the orange peel half shells are cut into quarters, making them arguably easier to consume than Jell-O shots served in the traditional plastic cup. Watkins says these would make a nice after-dinner Thanksgiving treat as, in her opinion, they might "settle the bellies and liven the spirit."

Jell-O in orange peels can also be a booze-free dessert

Because the recipe here is for alcoholic Jell-O shots, it's not something you could serve to a wide range of Thanksgiving guests (or guests in general, since the Jell-O-in-an-orange-peel idea isn't holiday-specific). Not only children, but people in recovery, people whose religion forbids alcohol, people who simply don't like the taste of the stuff, and any guests planning to drive home will all have to say no to the treat. You can, however, take the orange peel inspiration and apply it to a number of other Jell-O concoctions.

If you want to stick with the cranberry-orange flavor profile from Watkins's recipe, that's easily done, as you can just replace the orange liqueur with orange juice (you'll have plenty of the fresh stuff on hand if you juice the oranges before scraping pulp from peel) and the brandy with cranberry juice. You could also just fill the orange peels with any other Jell-O flavor you like, adding fruit juice, soda, or cut-up bits of fruit to make it extra special. You need not even restrict yourself to orange peels, since lemon boats would also make for cute and tasty Jell-O cups. Yet another Jell-O hack involves filling lime shells with strawberry or a similar pink variety to make mini "watermelons."