Mixing like Zaphod Beeblebrox (sorta)

Today’s local paper carries an opinion piece about blue raspberry–flavored foods. “When did blue raspberry become a thing?” asks Angie Quaale of the Langley Times, noting that food is not generally supposed to be blue.

Indeed, a blue hue often reliably indicates that food is off. Even blue food that’s ostensibly palatable, such as blue cheese and that weird potato-like thing that Arthur Dent sampled in the hull of a Vogon ship, gives plenty of consumers the dry heaves. Yet here we have a marketplace where blue raspberry everything shimmers and sparkles at us. You name it: Jell-O, kids’ lunch snacks and juices, and popsicles, the very product Angie tags as responsible for the incursion of blue raspberry into the marketplace.

More troublingly, Angie says blue raspberry is artificial.

I didn’t know this, my fellow inebriates. I just thought scientists had gone ahead and engineered blue raspberries. Why not? The other day the family ate yellow tomatoes and red peppers, and earlier at the bowling alley Miss V gobbled down a handful of blue M&Ms.

If they can make blue M&Ms, why couldn’t they engineer a blue raspberry? The two feats seem about equivalent, don’t they?

I pondered this briefly before deciding to make a Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster. It’s supposed to be kind of bluish-green and taste like Jack Daniels with peach schnapps and blue curacao plus some orange juice. But you know the sorry state of our liquor cabinet, so I substituted gin for, well, all the ingredients—even the one item we had (best to save the OJ for the kiddies). Curiously enough, my Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster wasn’t bluish-green but clear. Given Douglas Adams’s description of the drink as “like having your brains smashed out by a slice of lemon wrapped around a gold brick,” I’d say my version was close enough.

Jell-O shot idea

Says one of my recent Facebook friend additions, Ian:

If you want yummy Jell-O shots — get Wild Cherry mixed with Amaretto — Fantastic!

I do want yummy Jell-O shots. Leaving this graphic aside…

…Jell-O shots are a plain-old great idea. I love all kinds, but this suggestion from Ian is a new one for me. When I think about it, it makes perfect sense, but I’m not sure why. The two flavors just seem to go together.

But almonds don’t taste like cherries. In fact, almonds don’t even taste like amaretto. Why is that? Am I just too wasted to know what I’m consuming?

Apparently the answer lies in the almonds. Amaretto, at least in its original formulation, was made with European almonds—bitter almonds. Whereas the almonds we eat here in North America are sweet almonds. It seems we are just too candy-assed to eat things like bitter almonds here. In fact, it’s illegal to cultivate them in North America. OMG, why?

It turns out bitter almonds contain laetrile, which contains two poisons: cyanide and benzaldehyde, the latter being the active ingredient that gives almond extract its well-known bitter aroma and taste. And all kinds of stone fruit contain laetrile–cherries, peaches, apricots. Most amaretto is made from apricots, not almonds, because they contain the same poison. Wow!

So, how much of this shit would I have to consume to die??

Well, thankfully a lot. Europeans eat bitter almonds all the time without keeling over, and by some dumb-ass contradictory bureaucratic food regulation we legally import bitter almond oil. So it’s okay, friends, you can eat that shit. Eat it, drink it, shoot it.

Yummly Jell-O shots

Checking out the inventory this morning, I realized we have a genuine booze emergency in the house. If you haven’t read my lamentations about the liquor cupboard being bare, here’s a list of what we have:

    • Bacardi Big Apple Rum—8 oz or so
    • Malibu—maybe 3 oz
    • Cusano Rojo Mezcal—2 oz, worm definitely dead
    • El Senorio Mezcal—4 oz, never opened, worm still hanging out in there
    • AppletonEstate Rum—2 oz

Needless to say, all are sealed tightly enough to defeat my furry, thumbless paws.

So I’d say that’s a crisis, wouldn’t you? These little remainders have been languishing for years. I’ve just about given up any hope of inspiring my parents to get into these rejected bottles. Just about…

Enter Yummly Nibbles & Bits, a gorgeous foodie website with pics that make even an alcoholic a little hungry. As you know, I don’t go in for solid food; I am all about liquor. But I’ll go as far as gels, and Yummly has a beautiful article on alcoholic Jell-O. They have some good ideas that might dovetail with our dreggish liquor cabinet.

But what is Jell-O exactly? Or more to the point, what is Jell-O made of? Well, hang on tight.

Phew! No bear parts. Unless they're included in "Other"???

Jell-O is gelatin-based, and gelatin is a “protein produced from collagen extracted from the boiled bones, connective tissues, and intestines of animals.” Whoa!

So what kinds of animals are we talking about? Just like you humans, I’m pretty good about compartmentalizing information, meaning I can shoot a Jell-O drink without envisioning the pigs, cows and chickens all jumbled up in its manufacture. But I’d have to draw the line if bears had any unfortunate part in gelatin production, just because I wouldn’t want to be a cannibal.

I googled “bear entrails vs gelatin” and was satisfied that bears are not used to make the stuff; however, gelatin is used to make gummi bears, which is cool. But you may want to avoid Jell-O shots if you’re concerned about them being kosher.

So what can we whip up using Jell-O and our meager booze rations?

From Bionic Bites

I want to make these very badly, but I have a few mods: I’m gonna sub Bacardi Big Apple Rum for the blueberry Stoli and leave out the actual blueberries. We have raspberry Jell-O so I’ll use that. The only hitch is that my mum says the kids will want it, so we have to leave out the rum.

From Bakers Royale

This one’s ingenious, but my mum will have to do all the work because I don’t have opposable thumbs or patience. You have to hollow out a bunch of strawberries…I thought we had some growing outside but it turns out they stop growing before November so we are SOL on that account. We can still make the Jell-O part because we have the right flavor (strawberry) and we have two kinds of Mezcal. I’ll use both and leave out the liqueur that we don’t have. Score!

Except my mum says we have to leave out the Mezcal so the kids can eat it. Oh, man.

from annie's eats

This one will work for sure.

Again, we have to scrap the orange liqueur, but it’s all good because we have Mezcal. We have to make sure the worm doesn’t fall into the lime Jell-O, though, because it might scare people. Now we’re all set.

Oh wait. My mum says we have to leave out the worm and the Mezcal. Sigh…

Why don’t you guys whip up some alcoholic Jell-O and tell me all about it?