I was going to a Mardi Gras party last night and I thought it might be fun to bring a couple of these:
I decided to go with the Sazerac and Hurricane recipes.
The Hurricane Shots: I used cherries without food coloring, which were a bit pale, so I didn't get the nice color variation shown in this picture. Also, I think the picture here was made without the food coloring in the bottom later, because mine weren't this lovely orange, but more or a pink-red color, much like the top layer. Flavor-wise, they came out a little too tart. I followed the recipe exactly, although my oranges were a bit on the tart side. I had tasted and thought it was a bit too tart, but wasn't sure if adding sugar or simple syrup would affect the jelling ability so I left it alone. I wondered if straining the lime pulp would have helped as well, or using less lime juice.
The Sazerac shots: I couldn't get the Peychaud's bitters, so subbed in an orange bitters, which seemed to work fine. I couldn't find white sanding sugar; mine was multicolored, which ended up looking a little muddy after it was mixed with the lemon zest. This recipe doesn't say so, but I think the zest really needs to be left to dry out before being mixed with the sugar. The oils and dampness in the lemon zest didn't seem to do anything good for the sugar.
Both of these recipes are really strong, not what the average person expects from a "Jello shot". I think when people see "Jello Shots" they expect something sweeter and more neutral tasting. I think these shots are a tough sell. They are too intense for the rum and coke set, and the jello shot aspect turns off the craft cocktail snobs who actually could appreciate the flavors. You'd really have to get the right kind of crowd who likes good cocktails but who are able to be a bit more silly and irreverent.
Of the two, the Sazeracs were more popular, although I think the Hurricanes would have gone better if they were sweeter. I don't think anybody who tried these even knew what a Sazerac was, but the people who really liked them were looking forward to trying the actual drink. I have a lot leftover, so now I'm wondering how long they'll keep...
In the end it was fun but all told, I'd rather be drinking an actual Sazerac.