Sizzling Jell-O Drink: Basic Backpacking Recipe or Boiled Nightmare?

Sizzling Jell-O Drink: Basic Backpacking Recipe or Boiled Nightmare?

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Positive, you’ve eaten Jell-O with a spoon, the best way the universe and Kraft supposed. However have you ever ever drank it from a mug?

Within the fall 1974 concern of Backpacker, a reader named George Williams from Keokuk, Iowa, submitted a basic mountaineering recipe that he referred to as an “instantaneous hit.” The substances: sizzling water and Jell-O. Our employees handed it round with fascination. May this sugary, hacked-together beverage presumably be good?

For a number of months, we filed it away and principally forgot about it. Then, our Pacific Crest Path correspondent Patricia “Blackpacker” Cameron took the initiative to strive it for herself. To our shock, she agreed with recipe-submitter George: It was successful.

My fellow Backpacker editors and I had been shocked. By the sound of it, sizzling Jell-O drink doesn’t essentially get me salivating. I assumed it will style like boiled Gatorade after which someway solidify in your abdomen. However one other a part of me was curious to see if this underdog recipe may even have one thing to it, like tacky s’mores. I purchased a number of totally different flavors and started working within the kitchen.

Sizzling Jell-O Drink: Basic Backpacking Recipe or Boiled Nightmare?
Pouring the Jell-O Drink right into a mug. (Photograph: Emma Veidt)

Surprisingly, it’s truly fairly good, assuming you get the flavors proper. My favorites had been berry blue, strawberry, and raspberry. They introduced me again to my childhood, when Jell-O was a summer season staple. That is all assuming you want sugar, in fact: Though the flavors had been attractive and nostalgic, the drink is so syrupy and sugary that I felt like I wanted to put in writing an apology letter to my dentist after a pair sips. The berry blue taste was a notch beneath cloying, however the strawberry and raspberry weren’t so unhealthy. George’s recipe doesn’t point out a serving dimension, however three cups is an absurd quantity for one or two individuals. It was so candy that I wouldn’t need a couple of mugful.

This isn’t a dealbreaker, although; you possibly can regulate the ratio of Jell-O combine to water and discover a answer on your palate. After a number of rounds so candy that they left my cheeks sore, I discovered that you possibly can nix 1 / 4 or a half of the Jell-O powder and nonetheless have a tasty drink.

If alcohol is your factor, the berry blue and strawberry flavors had been tasty with a nip of Fireball added in. Patricia additionally really helpful the berry blue taste with apple whiskey (get the recipe beneath). In case you have a dehydrator, I’d recommend including dehydrated berries to make a fruity Jell-O sangria.

There are some caveats. By no means, for the love of all issues gelatin, use Jell-O’s vanilla pudding combine as an alternative of its fruity desserts. Simply because it’s the identical model doesn’t imply you’ll get the identical outcome. For some purpose, I believed it was going to be like a creamy backcountry milkshake or eggnog. As an alternative, I discovered myself choking down one of many grossest issues I’ve ever eaten. It didn’t mix effectively, and the vanilla was so diluted that it was much less like consuming pudding and extra like slugging wallpaper paste whereas sniffing an air freshener. There’s no redeeming it.

General, that is one thing I’d be glad to strive once more. After I’m backpacking, I normally slurp on some miso soup, sizzling chocolate, or sizzling Nuun as a non-alcoholic aperitif earlier than dinner. I believed my arsenal was fairly stacked, however it turns on the market’s at all times room for a little bit Jell-O. Simply not vanilla pudding. By no means that.

Recipe: Patricia’s PCT Punch

Backpacker’s Pacific Crest Path correspondent, Patricia “Blackpacker” Cameron, recommends this candy sipper for chilly nights. Makes 3 servings


  • 1 field blue raspberry Jell-O combine
  • 3 oz. Jack Daniels Tennessee Apple whiskey


  1. Carry 3 cups of water to a boil. Add Jello combine and stir till mixed
  2. Divide Jello combination into three cups, add 1 oz. whiskey to every, and luxuriate in.

Genie Mathena

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