Glowing Gin Jelly


This is a simple jelly – as you would have had as a child. Wibbly, wobbly, sweet and tasty. However, this one contains Gin & Tonic, making it an adult jelly. And a bonus – it glows in the dark under UV light – which adds a bit of fun to the dinner party.

Tonic Water contains Quinine. Quinine is a bitter compound that comes from the bark of the cinchona tree and has been used for centuries as a treatment for malaria and other conditions. The quinine present in tonic water provides a distinctive bitter flavour. Quinine is also fluorescent and under an ultraviolet “black light,” the quinine in tonic water makes the water fluoresce or glow, a brilliant, bright blue.


You will need a UV Black Light. You can purchase UV torches at Bunnings and camera stores, and you can purchase UV light bulbs at many hardware stores.


  • 200ml quality Gin – I use Four Pillars Spicy Gin
  • 200ml quality Indian Tonic Water (containing quinine)
  • 5 Leaves of gelatine
  • 100ml water
  • 50gm caster sugar
  • A splash of lime juice or rosewater

For the Glow – a UV Black Light


  1. Combine the gin and the tonic water in a large measuring jug.
  2. Put the gelatine leaves in a heatproof bowl and add enough gin & tonic to cover. Leave to soften for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Once soft – heat the gelatine gently over a saucepan of boiling water to melt it.
  4. Put the 50gm sugar in the 100mls of water in another saucepan and heat until dissolved. Carefully add the sugar to the gelatine mix. And then combine with the remaining gin & tonic in the jug.
  5. Add a splash of lemon juice or rosewater and stir.
  6. Pour into a jelly mould, or several individual ones, and refrigerate until set.

To Serve:

  1. Immerse the moulds into hot water for a few seconds and invert the jelly onto a plate to demould. Serve with fresh berries or a fruit coulis if desired.
  2. For best effect – turn off all the lights in the room and switch on a black UV light – to let the quinine fluoresce.


Purchase a packet of Aeroplane Jelly (85gm makes 500gm of jelly). Pick a light coloured flavour like lemon. Follow the instructions but simply reduce the cup (250ml) of boiling water (from the instructions on the Jelly packet) to 200ml – and then add 250ml of Tonic Water. Mix all the ingredients then place in the refrigerator to set as per the packet instructions.