A Queen is Born

Navigating life as a young parent in college was treacherous terrain. I was caught between growing up and being responsible for another person. I had no idea the strength is required to do that. By the time I made it to my early twenties, I was living on my own and dealing with a toxic relationship cycle; it only added more stress. Not only that, I was pursuing a degree in Biology, and was struggling to stay motivated. Consequently, my grades were sometimes trash. I was hard on myself, and overstimulated quite frankly. I needed something to dampen the noise.

One night I went on a late night trip to Wal-mart; back when they were 24hrs. I went to the liquor section and picked up a bottle. I couldn’t wait to get back to my apartment. I pulled out a cup and some juice. Then I turned on the stereo that sat on top the fridge. I hooked the aux to my phone and poured me some Seagram’s Gin and fruit punch Minute Maid (the one in the box), while blasting Snoop Dogg’s Gin and Juice. Now I know what you thinking, “girl you is lame.” What can I say? I am a fan of 90s hiphop culture. I let the spirit takeover, and I was transported to a version of me who was unafraid, guerilla-like. I later realized that I was just numbing myself. I was truly afraid of everything.

My days started to become consumed with gin and juice. I always thought the gin tasted like fresh cut grass. That and vodka was my go to liquor choices but I never really liked the flavor. Then I realize no matter which spirit I tried, they all tasted like rubbing alcohol. So although I enjoyed the feeling of alcohol, I didn’t like  enjoy the taste.

I began to develop an indulgent relationship with alcohol. Mainly as a way to find balance in my life. Often time when drinking I get creative. I fascinated with the idea of inventing things. And one particular drinking session I decided I didn’t wan to suffer the nasty taste of alcohol. I not only wanted to hide the flavor of the alcohol, I wanted to do it in a way  that hasn’t been done before. Then my brain said jello shots. I thought about how many times I had a jello shot on Bourbon, and how nasty they are. Literally every last one I’ve had is too damn thick and taste like Robitussin. So I challenged myself to find the balance between texture and flavor, and create flavors that were just as complex as cocktails. 

My next few drinking sessions included me Googling everything about gelatin. I even found a jello shot experiment. From that moment forward, I spent countless hours experimenting with textures. At a point I contacted a seasoning manufacturer and ended up meeting the guy who started the first drive-thru daiquiri shop. He was a wealth of knowledge. He also sent me away with some other thickening agents to try in my texture experiments. I eventually came up with what I consider to be the “golden ratio” for jello shots. (Yes, it is play on the Fibonacci Sequence). After that, the first two flavors were born.

The first flavors were rather basic in my opinion: pina colada and strawberries with cream. I would soon debut these flavors on a friend’s night out, something my friend Miesha titled, “Rio de Bourbon.”

I became obsessed with idea of turning any cocktail into a jello shot. I even started to dabble in gummy candy. The texture was similar to store-bought candy, since I was using commercial food grade binders. Somehow my quest for the perfect jello shot was the outlet I needed to transform my frustrations into art. Not long after this new found purpose, my body began to reject alcohol.

I mean one minute I was backing that ass up, and the next I was throwing up all over Razoo’s bathroom. The crazy part was it was the only drink I had that night. (The Shamrock drinks different.) For a long time after I couldn’t drink at all. Even though my fondness of alcohol changed, I still remained impassioned to create the best damn Jel Cocktail™ anyone ever had.

And so came the birth of Queen Jelly®,  well Party Shots, but that’s another story. 

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