Fourth of July Jell-O Shot Layered Dessert

When Independence Day rolls around this coming Monday, it'll bring with it the usual holiday fare: fireworks, kitschy patriotic crap, and family barbecues. The latter can be a chore, especially if the real fireworks start when your Aunt Sally brings up her wacky conspiracy theories or Cousin Ed threatens to blow off a hand by lighting a package of bottle rockets all at once.

Sigh. Don't you just wish you had a cocktail to make it all better? Or, better yet, a tray full of cocktails that your unsuspecting relatives (or friends) can get soused on so that the holiday goes down as smoothly as a

With holiday horrors past in mind, The Virgin decided to whip up a traditional three-layer Jell-O dessert with an alcoholic -- and patriotic -- twist just in time for July 4.

What You'll Need:
1 large box or 2 regular size packets of Jell-O Berry Blue
1 large box or 2 regular size packets of Strawberry or Cherry Jell-O
4 cups vodka
1 8 oz. package of whipped cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
1 cup half and half
1 packet unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
Boiling water

The Virgin's DeStructions:

1. Pour Berry Blue flavor Jell-O powder into small bowl and add 2 cups of boiling water. Measure out 2 cups of vodka, realizing that four cups is a metric crapton of liquid and won't fit in your puny bowl. Pour Berry Blue liquid and goopy blue sludge into a larger bowl and add 2 cups vodka. Sip a little of the leftovers (straight from the bottle, natch) if you're so inclined.

2. Pour blue mixture into a lightly greased 8x8 pan, only to realize you've made the same friggin' mistake again and the pan is way too small. Pour blue liquid into a larger 9x12 pan and place in fridge about 1-2 hours until set.

3. Have another swig.

4. Combine sugar and half and half in a pot and bring to a boil. Remove from heat. While it cools down, dump packet on unflavored gelatin in a small bowl with 1/2 cup cold water and stir until dissolved.

5. Add gelatin mix to the pot with the sweetened half and half. Stir in vanilla and cream cheese and mix until smooth. Cool the whole shebang on the counter until it's about room temperature.

6. Pour cooled mixture over top of blue Jell-O layer and refrigerate for a couple of hours. Marvel at the fact you're still working on this "simple" Jell-O recipe four hours later, and take a shot.

7. If you haven't already passed out and/or gone to sleep, prepare the strawberry Jell-O the same way you did the Berry Blue version, substituting the vodka for cold water again. Cool until room temperature. Pour the red mixture on top of the white layer and leave to set overnight.

The Result: The dessert turned out pretty damned tasty. Several taste-testers around the office thought it would be better if the sweet ratio was upped so that the alcoholic bite was lessened. Of course, then you'd risk Aunt Sally pissing off the neighborhood with her political talk -- but then again, maybe a sweeter dessert would mean people would eat more of it, making for a happy and mellow holiday.

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Wynter Holden
Contact: Wynter Holden