Though I consider myself a New Yorker, I was born and raised in the South, and this berry-filled twist on the classic Southern cocktail takes me back to my roots. Like the traditional cocktail often served at the Kentucky Derby, this Jell-O mold is made with sweet mint and bourbon. Tart blackberries balance out the dish and create a surprisingly cool and refreshing treat — perfect for relaxing all day on the front porch of your Southern farmhouse. Or if you’re like me, on the roof of your apartment building.
Blackberry Mint Julep Jell-O
Makes: 5 Cups
2 cups fresh mint leaves
1 cup sugar
3 1/2 cups water
3 tablespoons (3 envelopes) of unflavored gelatin powder
1/2 cup bourbon
2 cups blackberries
To make the blackberry mint julep Jell-O:
Meanwhile, in a bowl, sprinkle the gelatin evenly over 1/2 cup of the water and allow the gelatin to absorb the water for two minutes.
In a blender blend the blackberries and about 2 cups of the gelatin mixture until it is liquefied. Pour through a wire mesh strainer back into the bowl with the remaining gelatin to strain out seeds. (My strainer is ridiculously small to go with my ridiculously small New York City kitchen. I suggest using a bigger strainer.)
Refrigerate the mixture until thickened to the consistency of a gel. Stir to evenly disperse the pureed fruit throughout and spoon into a 5-cup mold or several individual molds. 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.
Tip: This Jell-O recipe will work well in one large mold, but small individual molds make it easy to share with friends at your next summer get together. If you don’t have a collection of gelatin molds on hand, try some mold alternates such as bunt 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?
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