Spiked Watermelon Jell-O — Drink and Dessert in One

When summer rolls around, I always look forward to sinking my teeth into a wedge of watermelon — its sweet juices cooling my throat and dripping down my chin in equal measure. And when it gets super hot outside, I think about those watermelon Italian ices from the ice cream truck or pool snack bar, eaten very carefully with a small wooden spoon. For me, watermelon equals summertime.

So for my next Jell-O recipe, I decided to captured that sweet watermelon flavor and added a tart, adult twist. Made with watermelon cubes, freshly squeezed lime juice and a splash of vodka, this Jell-O is perfect for serving at a backyard pool party or other outdoor affair. The pureed watermelon gives the mold more substantial texture — similar to that of a frozen treat — which just may force some impromptu childhood reminiscing.

Spiked Watermelon Limeade Jell-O

Makes: 5 cups

3 tablespoons (3 envelopes) of unflavored gelatin powder
3/4 cups cold water
1 cup boiling water
1 cup white sugar
4 cups chopped watermelon, with seeds removed
1/2 cup lime juice (fresh squeezed or from concentrate)
1/2 cup vodka (or water for the non-alcoholic version)

To make the watermelon limeade Jell-O mold:

In a large bowl, sprinkle 3 tablespoons (3 packages) of unflavored gelatin over the cold water and allow the gelatin to absorb the water for 2 minutes. Stir in the boiling water until gelatin is fully dissolved. Stir in the sugar until it is dissolved.

In a blender or food processor blend the watermelon and lime juice until it is liquefied.

Whisk the watermelon-lime mixture and the vodka into the gelatin-sugar mixture in the large bowl.

Refrigerate the mixture until it thickens to the consistency of a gel. Stir to evenly distribute any watermelon flesh that may have risen to the top. Gently spoon the mixture into a 5 cup mold. Refrigerate until firm, about 8 hours or overnight.

To unmold, fill a sink, basin, or large bowl with warm water. Dip the mold just to the rim in the warm water for about 15 seconds. Lift from water, hold upright, and shake slightly to loosen the gelatin from mold. Place a cold, moistened plate over the top of the mold and invert the plate and mold together. Carefully lift the mold, if gelatin does not release dip the mold in the warm water and try again.

Garnish with a mint sprig and serve.

Get the printable recipe here.

Tip: If you don’t have a collection of gelatin molds on hand, try some mold alternatives such as bundt pans, loaf pans, metal mixing bowls or large food storage containers. If you want to dive right in a buy a mold, eBay is the best place to start your search.

Victoria Belanger is the author of Hello, Jell-O!: 50+ Inventive Recipes for Gelatin Treats and Jiggly Sweets. She creates craft Jell-O molds in unexpected flavors and artistic presentations for her blog The Jello Mold Mistress of Brooklyn. Her jello has been featured in The New York Times, Oprah.com, The Splendid Table radio show, The Chew talk show, and Apartment Therapy’s: The Kitchn, to name a few. Additionally, Victoria works as a photographer and enjoys exploring the five boroughs of New York City by bicycle.

Want More Jell-O?
Try some recipes from Victoria’s book, Hello, Jell-O!
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Get even more great summer dessert recipes