It’s New Year’s Eve and I’m hosting!…but I’m also cheap. I’m not as young as I used to be, but I still like to have a good time. This year to stretch the food spread and the booze budget I will be making Champagne Jello shooters.
This is a no-brainer: Jello is made of one part boiling water to one part cold water. Simply replace the cold water with chilled white wine, champagne, or other bubbly. Yes, you can also use vodka, but using champagne is far less Frat Boy esque. That being said I did once try watermelon jello made with coconut rum and, other than being so sweet that your could only keep down one sample of it, it was very tasty. You can get some decent tasting super cheap champagne nowadays (I assume the grapes are from the Champagne region of New Jersey, but it works, none the less). You can also use white wine or prosecco; red wine would be just too intense if using a flavored jello, which I am.
And, yes, you can use sugar free jello. But the fact of the matter is that if you’re drinking so much one night that you’re doing jello shots, than the last thing you’re really doing is calorie counting. And even the regular jello has only, like, 8 calories per serving. It’s just nil, so get over it.
So, jello shooters. Why the hell not? Let’s do this.
You will need:
*Jello/Gelatin. If using red wine you can use unflavored gelatin, which has no flavor, but smells like a wet dog when you add water. Tonight I will be using Lime jello to go with a spumante champagne, and strawberry flavored to go with a pink blush I picked up…because sometimes I’m girlier than other times.
*Boiling water. Follow the directions on the box. I purchased two of the larger sized boxes of jello; they call for 2 cups boiling water per flavor and that’s what I’m using.
*Chilled Champagne/Wine/Booze. A 750ml bottle will yield 3.5-4 cups of chilled liquid for jello. And it must be cold. You use equal parts cold drink as you use boiling water, exactly as specified on the boxed jello directions.
*Mini serve cups. I’m using paper dixie cups, but I would have really preferred something plastic or wax coated, which these are not. Not good for have a congealed liquid sitting in them for hours, but they will work just fine.
*A tray to hold all your mini serve cups. I’m using a pyrex baking pan and a cookie sheet.
*A fridge. Duh.
Boil water. Boil more than two cups; you never know how much will evaporate. While you’re waiting for your water to boil, pack your glass baking dish or cookie sheet with mini cups. Having them edge to edge means that if you get a little sloppy when pouring the mixture into the cups to chill, the drips will wind up IN the surrounding cups rather than around their bases.
Once boiling, measure 2 cups of water (if using the large size jello box or if making a double batch of the regular size packages. Again, follow the directions on the box.), preferably into a glass, pour spout measuring cup. Pour the the water into a heat proof bowl and stir with a non-stick spatula until the jello is completely dissolved. Don’t use a wooden spoon for this unless you want a permanently jello-dyed wooden kitchen utensil as a constant reminder of your clASSy jello shots.
When you go to open your bottle of champagne, wrap a towel around the cork so it doesn’t fly off, and slowly, gently pull. Sometimes it won’t even make that huge popping sound, but you’re guaranteed not to waste a drop of champagne this way or hurt an innocent bystander.
Once the jello has been dissolved in the boiling water let it cool for just a minute or two. Then measure equal parts champagne to your boiling water, in my case 2 cups. The measure is after the foam has subsided, so measure it out slowly. Again, a glass measuring cup with a pour spout is best for this and you can pick those up cheap any where if you don’t already have one.
Pour the champagne into the bowl with the hot water and dissolved jello and gently mix. Gently! Then pour slowly into dixie cups. They will foam up quite a bit so fill them each only about 1/2-2/3 of the way full and move onto the next cup until the foam settles. You can top them off later if you’d like.
Once your cups are full or you’re out of boozetastic jello mixture, refridgerate for at least 4 hours or over night.
I thought that the champagne bubbles would become transfixed in the jello making an almost Pop Rocks-like sensation when you’d suck one back. It doesn’t, not completely…so, sorry to – wait for it – burst your bubble.
In a Super Secret Screening on Monday October 24th, the Alamo Drafthouse of Austin invited fans to a free showing of Young Adult, featuring in-person guests Director Jason Reitman and star Patton Oswalt. The film opens in limited release on December 9th and wider on December 16th.
Young Adult begins in Minneapolis, a city of industrialism without the prestige of Chicago or New York. Charlize Theron plays the washed-up ex-school socialite Mavis Gary, a ghost writer claiming famous author status, who returns to her hometown of Mercury, Minnesota in an attempt to woo back her old high school flame. Darkness, rather than hilarity, ensues. Patton Oswalt plays Matt, an unexpected conscience and friend, who is just as guilty of being unable to let go as the delusional and pretentious Mavis. In usual Theron and Patton fashion, both play their characters as if they were built for them specifically, running a fine line between bleak truth and dark humor.
Young Adult doesn’t lack depth in its main character; Mavis’s failures and subsequent denial of them are more than evident through her boozing, inability to look at herself in a mirror before happy hour, and inherent conceit. The rest of the film, however, seems to barely scratch the surface by comparison. This story hits so close to home for so many that the script just isn’t enough to make Young Adult the home-run Juno was. The film does make attempts to get the viewer emotionally involved, adding a glimmer of back story outside Mavis’s ego. In a scene with an old flame’s wife, Theron portrays Mavis as not only naked and raw in feeling, but also unwavering in her blind egomaniacal sense of self when confronted with maturity. Another scene chances an impossible change of heart in Mavis while she shares a brief, but perfect connection with Sandra, played by the fantastic Collette Wolfe, but in the end it’s not enough. There are many questions the viewer will find unanswered, but that may simply be to drive home the fact that the universe revolves around Mavis; you’re in her world even though you don’t deserve to be. Almost twenty years after graduation, and with a career many would find envious, Mavis reveals herself to be just as sad as the hometown she mocks and resents.
While this film is enjoyable, Young Adult lacks a wow factor. The leap into something darker than Juno and Up in the Air is a adventure for Reitman that he pulls off well and Oswalt and Theron are fantastic with the story they’re given. The film, however, ultimately seems stuck deciding whether to be a drama or a dark, dry comedy of the ordinary. Theron is undeniable enthralling to watch, like a trainwreck that just keeps getting worse.
Stephen King once said “I hated high school. I don’t trust anybody who looks back on the years from 14 to 18 with any enjoyment. If you liked being a teenager, there’s something wrong with you,” and I agree. While everyone knew or – worse – currently knows a Mavis, seeing her on the big screen in all the glory of pitiful masochism and reminiscence is not enough for a truly fulfilling story. Young Adult begins well, truly tries in the third act, and its star and directors play their parts well. The story just simply falls short.