JOURNAL: Vegan Jell-O Flop

With the summer semester finally coming to a close, I thought I would get back into the kitchen and play around. I’ve gotten rusty. I sought to improve on past attempts to make cocktail aspic, or fancy jell-o shots, or whatever you want to call them. I used Agar agar, the seaweed-based, and thus vegan, alternative to Jell-O, which is made of hooves and has a less interesting texture. Agar agar also holds up better when mixed with liquor in my experience.

My attempt at Cosm-O Shots yielded less than impressive results. They don’t taste like much of anything and the red color was not as saturated as I hoped. They had not set when I tried to pull them out of the freezer, but set quickly when spilled all over the kitchen (the key is maximizing surface area). OK, that last part is not the fault of the recipe, so much as the clumsy cook.

I had previously made a cranberry agar agar, substituting juice for half of the water and found the flavor to be very weak, so I thought it would be perfect if I added cranberry juice concentrate to the water, thus creating a stronger flavor, but it was still pretty bland and extra chewy to boot (actually, not unlike chewing a boot).

Next batch will probably be 12 ounces of water to 12 ounces of concentrate, less agar powder and all of the alcohol. I will also combine the boiling agar water with the rest of the ingredients in the mixing bowl, specifically one with a lip designed for pouring, and not in the hard-to-aim saucepan.

Recipe (For archival purposes ONLY - DO NOT attempt to duplicate):

4 ½ cups water
1 pouch agar agar powder with sugar added (enough for 6 cups)
2 cups vodka
½ cup triple sec
1 ½ cups Cranberry juice concentrate (11.5 ounce jar)
Juice of 4 limes

1. Bring water to boil in a medium saucepan while combining the booze and juice in a bowl.
2. Upon realizing that the other ingredients are too cold to combine, and that you were supposed to bring the water and agar agar to a boil together, turn off the heat and replace the pot lid with the mixing bowl.
3. Go outside for fifteen minutes.
4. Return to kitchen, add agar agar to water and return to a boil, whisking constantly.
5. Remove from heat, and whisk in other ingredients.
6. With little regard for safety or sanitation, proceed to cover the stove and floor in sticky pink goo while trying to fill ice cube trays, baking dishes and plastic containers.
7. Put in freezer because you are too impatient to wait for it to gel in the refrigerator.

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