3-Ingredient Cocktails

One of my favorite offerings at Camelot Wine & Spirits is our Cocktail-To-Go kit. We offer several different variations, ranging in price from around $5 to $8 and they’re ready to grab & go every day in our gift area…

  • Mimosa
  • Vodka Cranberry
  • Classic Margarita
  • Salty Dog
  • Screwdriver
  • Crown & Coke

All of these cocktails are designed to use three or fewer ingredients, but our selection is somewhat limited by the availability of single-serving mixers and spirits, so this article will take a closer look at simple, three-five ingredient cocktails you can mix at home.


TOOLS:

An ingredient-heavy cocktail isn’t necessarily a better cocktail and complex cocktails can be overwhelming in terms of cost and difficulty of preparation. You don’t need a ton of tools and ingredients to make a delicious cocktail. If you have a reasonably well-stocked home bar, you can amaze your friends and satisfy your cocktail cravings any time the mood strikes. Let’s start by taking a closer look at the tools you’ll need for a very simple home bar setup:

  • Water-Resistant Tray – The tray shown above is plastic that looks like aged china and cost me about $10 at an outlet store. A simple, clear plastic, dollar store tray will work just as well for containing your wet items and helping to protect your furniture from drips or spills.
  • Dish or Bar Towels –  It’s nice to have a clean cotton towel handy to wipe up spills or help catch anything wet or drippy. We have some great towels from Kathy’s Primitives to get you started!
  • Measured Shot Glass – this is just a little shot glass with lines to show the different measurements your recipes might call for. 
  • Bar Spoon and Cocktail Shaker – Most cocktails need to be mixed in some way. Some recipes will suggest shaking and some stirring, depending on the contents of the drink. A good rule of thumb is to “stir” spirits and carbonated liquids and “shake” anything with juice or dairy … or when you want to show a little flair…
  • Glassware -You don’t have to keep a different glass for every cocktail – you can start with simple mixing glasses, like those shown above. These are perfectly acceptable for most of the cocktails we’ll talk about in this article and can even double as a pub-glass for serving beer. If you have a particular favorite cocktail, you might want to get that specific glass and add to your collection as you build your cocktail repertoire. 

BASIC INGREDIENTS:

The list of mixers, garnishes and other “stuff” you might add to your cocktails is vast! Here are a few basic standards you can get started:

  • Rimming Salt – There are tons of different flavors and price points, but rimming salt is basically just Kosher Salt. The Twang version shown above is a great, reasonably-priced salt you will find in our store AND it comes in a handy tub for ease of rimming glasses.
  • Fruit Juices & Nectars – We carry a line of Langers juices in a 15oz or 32oz sizes and we’ve added some Nectars as well (a more concentrated fruit juice). They’re kept cold in our store, but these juices are shelf stable and don’t need to be refrigerated + they keep for several months. This is probably an item to buy as you go vs. keeping a huge stock of different types on hand.
  • Mixers – These are the true magic behind simple cocktails. I’ve shown some very basic ones above (simple syrup, sweet & sour mix, and triple sec) that appear in lots of recipes. You can also get more cocktail-specific mixers such as Hurricane, Dirty Martini, Bloody Mary, Flavored Daiquiri and much more. Start with the basics and add on as your interests widen.
  • Soda – This includes anything carbonated, such as cola, lemon-lime soda, club soda, tonic water, and the like. This is another item you might want to buy as needed unless you particularly like a certain soda (diet coke for me, all day, every day).
  • Garnishes – These are totally optional and include things like olives, maraschino cherries, limes, lemons, etc. These are typically items you’ll want to buy fresh, as needed. They are intended to make things “fancy.” If you’re trying to keep costs down (or “fancy” ain’t really your thang), omit the garnish for now.

LIQUOR:

Mid-priced liquors work great in most cocktails because you’re mixing with other ingredients for most of the flavor. You can certainly up your game with more expensive liquors, but if your aim is to set up an inexpensive home bar, start simple with these well-known spirits. All of the bottles shown are 750ml (aka “fifths”), but smaller sizes (pints or even half-pints) are available if you want to ease more gently into this purchase – most cocktails only require an ounce or two of spirits per serving, so a little can go a relatively long way…

  • Jose Cuervo Blue Agave Tequila – this is a silver (clear) spirit that works well in a lot of tequila-based cocktails.
  • Bacardi Rum – I’ve shown the Gold, you might prefer to with the Superior, which is clear or white.
  • New Amsterdam Vodka – I’d venture to say Vodka takes up the most space of anything in our store (next to domestic beer and wine), mainly because it comes in SO many different flavors and varieties. Best advice here is to start with the plain, unflavored version and use fresh juices and mixers for flavor. I’ve shown New Amsterdam as a decent mid-range vodka to get started with. If you wanted to move up a bit, Tito’s would also be a great choice.
  • Evan Williams Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey – Whiskey is another area where the choices can be overwhelming – rye, scotch, bourbon, single malt, Tennessee, Kentucky… and the list goes on! I’ve shown the Evan Williams, based on price. Crown Royal is a bit pricier, but another great all-around bourbon for mixing simple cocktails. 
  • Bombay Dry Gin – Gin is probably more of an optional item for a starter bar. It used to be a staple in the Rat Pack era, but these days, Vodka tends to be a reasonable substitute in many recipes.
  • Champagne – I’ve listed this and shown Martini & Rosi Asti, mainly for the sake of the Mimosa and Bellini – if those aren’t your thing, skip it.

A word about shelf-life: Most basic liquors (tequila, rum, vodka, etc.) will last indefinitely, even after they’ve been opened; however, if you have something with sugar or carbonation, it’s going to have a shorter life. Mixers tend to contain a LOT of sugar and will spoil once opened – look for expiration dates on the side of the bottle. Champagne and wine can last several days if you have a good stopper. 

COLA-BASED COCKTAILS:

Whiskey and Coke – aka Jack & Coke or Crown & Coke, this drink mixes 6oz coke with 2oz whiskey of your choice. Stir and serve over ice in a highball or mixing glass.

Rum and Coke – aka Cuba Libra, mix 6oz coke with 2oz rum. Stir and serve over ice in a highball or mixing glass and garnish with a wedge of lime.

All American – mix 6oz coke with 1oz whiskey and 1oz Southern Comfort (a bourbon, flavored with orange and peach liqueur). Stir and serve over ice in a highball or mixing glass and garnish with a maraschino cherry.

FRUIT JUICE BASED COCKTAILS:

Mimosa – Mix equal amounts of chilled orange juice and chilled champagne. Stir and serve in a champagne flute or stemless wine glass. 

Bellini – Basically the same as a mimosa, substituting orange juice with peach juice or nectar. Peach is traditional, but you can mix just about any juice (mango, pineapple, cranberry, etc.) with champagne and not be sorry! Stir and serve in a champagne flute or stemless wine glass. 

Seabreeze Mix 4 oz cranberry juice, 1 1/2 oz vodka, and 1 oz grapefruit juice. Stir and serve over ice in a highball or mixing glass and garnish with a wedge of lime.

Cosmopolitan – add 1 1/2 oz vodka, 1oz triple sec, 1/5oz each of lime and cranberry juice to a cocktail shaker. Shake and strain into a martini glass and garnish with an orange peal. 

Vodka Cranberry – basically a simplified Cosmopolitan, this is just 1 1/2 oz vodka with 6-8oz cranberry juice. Shake and strain into an ice-filled highball or mixing glass.

Screwdriver -1 1/2 oz vodka with 6-8oz orange juice. Shake and strain into an ice-filled highball or mixing glass.

You may have noticed a trend here – just about any juice will mix well with vodka. Experiment and see what you like best!

MIXER BASED COCKTAILS:

Daiquiri – mix  1 1/2 oz white rum with 1/2 oz simple syrup and 1 oz lime juice. Shake and strain into an ice-filled daiquiri, martini or coupe glass.

Margarita – mix 1oz lime juice, with 1oz simple syrup, 1/2oz triple sec, and 2oz tequila. Shake and strain into a salt-rimmed margarita glass and garnish with a wedge of lime.

Lemonade – add 2oz lemon juice, 2oz simple syrup, and 1oz vodka to an ice-filled highball or large mixing glass, top off with lemon-lime soda and garnish with a wedge of lemon.

Tom Collins – add 1 1/2 oz Gin, 1/2 oz simple syrup and 1oz lemon juice to an ice-filled collins or large mixing glass, top off with soda water and garnish with a slice of lemon and a maraschino cherry.

Simple Syrup Recipe –  You can buy simple syrup, premade and ready to mix. But in a pinch, you can make it with water and sugar. Just add 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water to a small saucepan over low to medium heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved and store in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. This recipe will keep in your fridge for about a month.

Flavored Mixers – If you walk down our mixers aisle, you’ll find a huge selection of cocktail mixers. These are typically a simple syrup, flavored to fit a specific drink – like a mango margarita, strawberry daiquiri, bloody mary or hurricane, just to name a few. The possibilities are endless and you can get away with simply the mixer of your choice and appropriate liquor (usually suggested on the mixer label). One of our favorite brands is Master of Mixes – check it out to see what options are available, then come see us and we’ll set you up!

Be sure to check out our other recipe articles and come see us at 12247 N Penn Ave, in North Oklahoma City. Cheers!!

What’s the Deal with Green Beer??

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When we started planning St. Patrick’s Day displays and gifts for you this year, the first thing that crossed our path was green beer. We thought we’d gather some fun notions around that subject to get your Irish-American blood pumping!

Why do we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in the first place?

It was originally a Catholic holiday set aside to honor an Irish Saint, named Patrick. Turns out Patrick wasn’t really Irish at all – he was born in Brittain and eventually ended up in Ireland doing so much good work that he was granted sainthood after his death. In the Catholic tradition, St. Patrick’s day falls during Lent and is the one day drinking is allowed, which may be at least partly the reason we ALL (christian and non) like to drink to excess on that day. If you’d care to learn more about the Saint himself, check out this video…

Is green beer really Irish?

Green beer originated in America. Legend has it that green beer was invented by a New York physician in the early 1900s for a big St. Paddy’s day celebration. The doc was vague about his recipe, but he did share that he used BLUE to achieve the deep green color. Today, green beer is a St. Patrick’s Day staple in many areas of the world, but NOT in Ireland. The true Irish beer-lover tends to drink very dark beer that wouldn’t color well and most wouldn’t be caught dead drinking a green one anyway. That’s not to say green beer is bad – it’s just American & not at all Irish.

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Where do I get green beer?

We’ve yet to find a commercial green beer, but some beers are sold in green bottles. Brewers have bottled in glass for centuries and they realized quickly that beer bottled in clear glass got skunky if left in the sun. Turns out the sun’s UV rays can alter the chemistry of your beer. Dark brown bottles protect best, but demand for brown glass rose around World War II, so some brewers turned to green. Truth is, green glass doesn’t protect much better than clear, but some brewers have kept it for tradition’s sake.

Some beers are better suited to going green than others. The best choice is a light beer – a pilsner, pale ale or light lager. Your typical domestics (like Bud, Miller and Coors) are going to give you the best green and they’re a little lower in alcohol content giving you more time to party! Darker beers and stouts are going to take a TON of color to reach a state of green, which might change the flavor – so, something like a Guinness is probably best drunk as is.

Make your own green beer: You will need green food coloring, a light beer, and a glass (preferably a big ole beer stein). Add 3-5 drops of food coloring to your glass, then pour on the beer and enjoy!

Go out for green beer:

  • Oklahoma City’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade & festival is scheduled for Saturday, March 16 this year. The parade starts around 10am at Reno & Hudson and winds east towards the Bricktown Ballpark – the festival runs in Bricktown until 5pm.
  • O’Connell’s Irish Pub and Grille in Norman is a great place to get a little Irish flare any time of year, and they’re especially loved for their annual St. Paddy’s celebration.
  • Saints in the Plaza District is another great place to celebrate. They don’t show a food menu on their web site, but they appear to be affiliated with The Krow’s Nest which is known for excellent BBQ. Saints has a ton of different Irish cocktail options and features lots of local music throughout the year.

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Hate Beer? Try whiskey instead!

If you hate beer, you might try celebrating with whiskey – Jameson being one of the best known Irish Whiskeys. Folks also love their Bailey’s Irish Cream and an Irish coffee gives you the best of both – it’s just coffee, spiked with Bailey’s and Jameson and topped off with whipped cream. Yum!

Wherever your St. Patrick’s Day partying takes you, we hope you’ll stop by and say hello. We have some fun pitcher and cocktail-to-go sets, along with mixers, glass & barware, and, as always, all of the beer, wine and spirits you need to make your holiday celebration complete!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from your friends at Camelot Wine & Spirits!!

The Mighty Margarita!

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Happy National Margarita Day (Feb 22, 2019)!! The origin of our favorite Tequila cocktail is arguable – it may have been created by a restaurant owner in 1938 or a bartender in 1941 or Esquire magazine in 1958. Regardless of who originally came up with the idea, Jimmy Buffett is likely the reason it has such mass appeal today! So, hang onto your flip flops and follow along as we take a closer look at the mighty Margarita!!

All of the tools and ingredients mentioned in this article are available every day at Camelot Wine & Spirits – your liquor and more store @ 12247 N Penn in Oklahoma City!

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Choosing a Glass

The classic choice is a Margarita saucer, but in a pinch, a heavy rocks glass will work just as well. You can also use plastic, though salt may not stick as well to the rim. We are especially in love with the Host Margarita Freeze Cooling Cups – they’re made of BPA-free plastic and have walls that hold a freezable gel. Just keep them in the freezer and they’re ready to go whenever you are (available in sets of two).

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Preparing the Glass

However you take your margarita, preparation of the glass is basically the same. Pour salt onto a small plate or cocktail rimmer (like the one shown above), cut a fresh lime into wedges and use one wedge to dampen the rim of your glass. Dip the wet edge into salt and fill the glass with ice.

The Recipes:

The Classic – you will need a glass, a cocktail shaker, Blanco or Silver Tequila, Triple Sec, fresh limes, salt & ice.

  1. Prepare glasses as described above.
  2. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add 1.5oz Tequila, 1.5oz Triple Sec, and 1.5oz fresh lime juice.
  3. Shake, strain into prepared glass and garnish with a wedge of lime.

The Pitcher – you will need glasses, a pitcher, Blanco or Silver Tequila, Triple Sec, Sweet & Sour Mix, salt & ice.

  1. Prepare glasses as described above.
  2. Pour 1 1/4 cups Tequila, 1 1/4 cups Sweet & Sour Mix, and 1/2 cup Triple Sec into pitcher.
  3. Stir to combine and pour into prepared glasses.
  4. Optional: garnish with a slice of fresh lime.

Frozen – you will need 4 glasses, a blender, Blanco or Silver Tequila, Triple Sec, Sweetened Lime Juice, salt & ice.

  1. Prepare glasses as described above.
  2. Pour 1 cup Tequila, 1/2 cup triple sec, 1 cup Sweetened Lime Juice, and 6 cups ice into a blender.
  3. Blend until slushy, pour into prepared glasses and serve immediately

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The Beergarita – you will need a glass, a margarita clip (shown above), a cocktail shaker, a 5″ cocktail straw, Blanco or Silver Tequila, Triple Sec, Sweet & Sour Mix, a 12oz bottle of your favorite Mexican beer, salt & ice.

    1. Prepare glass as described above and add a margarita clip – these are a little hard to get on at first, so practice before salting the glass to get a feel for it.
    2. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add 1.5oz Tequila, 3/4oz Triple Sec, and 3oz Sweet & Sour mix.
    3. Shake and strain into prepared glass.
    4. Quickly flip the beer upside down and place into the clip, so it dispenses slowly as you drink your delicious Beergarita from a straw.

    Ready to Drink Margaritas:

    If the recipe path feels like a bit too much work, there are several ready-to-drink options. We stock all of the following:

    • Daily’s Margarita Frozen Pouch: Turn any day into a fiesta with Daily’s Frozen Margarita pouches. Pre-mixed so they’re ready to drink right out of the freezer.
    • Lime-A-Rita: Take a classic margarita, add some fun and you’ve got yourself a Lime-a-Rita. The recipe is – open the can. Or, if you’re feeling fancy, pour it over ice in a margarita glass.
    • Just add tequila mixes: Jose Cuervo, Big Bucket, Finest Call, Minute Mixology and many others are available every day at Camelot.
    • We also carry a fun Margarita Cocktail To-Go gift bag option – look for it on our gift shelf!

    Best Places to go out for Margaritas in Oklahoma City:

    Finally, if you just want to go out and get someone else to make you a margarita, Best Things in Oklahoma has gathered a list of the Ten Best Places for Margaritas in Oklahoma City!

    Enjoy!!

    Candy Infusions

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    Skittles, starburst, gummy bears? Not something you’d typically expect to find in a liquor store, but there’s a growing trend of infusing alcohol with popular candies, so we’ve stocked a variety of different options (and are adding all the time). If you haven’t tried infusing yet, read on!

    Vodka is the most common spirit for infusing, for several reasons:

    1. It has little or no flavor to alter the candy taste
    2. It’s perfectly clear so those great candy colors can shine through
    3. There are many different options in terms of price and alcohol content

    But, if there’s a spirit you particularly like, there’s no harm in trying an infusion with your favorite candy flavor. Just try to stick with a white, clear or blanco spirit to get the best color from your chosen candy.

    In this article, we’ll give you some ideas about the types of candy that work best and basic instructions, then it’s up to you to experiment with your own candy favorites.

    Candy Tips & Ideas:

    Here are a few candies that work well in infusions. It’s FAR from a complete list so get creative and have fun with it! Camelot Wine & Spirits carries all of the starred candies in this list (and will be adding more).

    • Starburst*
    • Skittles*
    • Jolly Ranchers
    • Red Hots
    • Peppermints
    • Candy Corn
    • Peeps
    • Gummy Bears*
    • Twizzlers
    • Jelly Beans*
    • Butterscotch
    • Hard Caramels (such as Werthers)

    Tip #1: These infusions will be quite strong on their own and very sweet so you might want to mix them with ginger ale, lemon-lime soda or club soda.

    Tip #2: Some candies are more likely to absorb than to actually flavor your vodka – gummy bears are one example. Gummies will soak up the vodka if you let them sit at least overnight (you’ll know they’re done when the gummies double or triple in size).

    Tip #3: Camelot also carries tons of different vodka options. You might want to try experimenting with flavored vodkas – say coconut flavored vodka with fruity candies or whipped cream flavored vodka with strawberry candies? Yum!

    Infusion tools and ingredients:

    • 1 pint-size canning jar with tight-fitting lid – for each candy color/flavor**
    • 3/4 cup of each candy color/flavor
    • Mid-priced Vodka (750ml for 3 colors, 1 liter for 4)
    • Coffee filters & or a fine strainer
    • 3 to 4 clean canning jars or flask s(8.5oz) – one for each candy color/flavor

    It’s always best to work with one candy color/flavor at a time – if you throw in an entire mixed-bag of Starburst, for example, you are likely to get a muddy brownish color. For candies that come packaged in multi-flavor bags, sort them first into separate color/flavor piles.

    Directions:

    • Step 1: In each canning jar, place one candy color/flavor and cover with 1 cup (8 oz) vodka.**
    • Seal tightly with lids & shake occasionally throughout the infusion process to help the candy dissolve. Let stand overnight.
    • Step 2: Filter each candy-infused vodka to strain out any waxes or other residue left behind by the candy, using a fine strainer or 1-2 coffee filters placed over 2-cup glass measuring cup. The filtering process will take some time – so be patient. And if the candy absorbs the vodka (vs. melting away into a sugary sludge), enjoy the infused candy too!
    • Step 3: Pour each infused vodka into a clean jar or flask and refrigerate or freeze until ready to use – up to 6 months

    **If using a SINGLE candy color/flavor (such as Peeps or Red Hots), you’ll need just one jar large enough to hold the candy and all of the vodka

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    Candy infusions are a fun way to add some color to your parties (think sour apple jolly ranchers for St. Pats or pink starburst for a girls night). They’re also a great way to use leftover candy (like peppermints after Christmas or candy corn after Halloween). You can also infuse vodka with lots of different fresh ingredients – click here to check out a list of ideas from Tito’s Handmade Vodka.

     

    Jello Shot Basics

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    Jello Shots are a fun way to put a spin on some of your favorite cocktail flavor combos and the possibilities are limited only by your imagination! Here are a few ideas to get you started…

    • Strawberry Lemonade: Strawberry Jello & lemon vodka
    • Lemon Drop: Lemon Jello & lemon vodka – with lemon drop rimming sugar on top for a little sparkle
    • Limeade: Lime Jello & watermelon vodka
    • Hawaiian: Berry Blue Jello & coconut vodka
    • Black Widow: Grape Jello & blackberry vodka
    • Dreamsicle: Orange Jello & whipped cream vodka
    • Mimosa: Orange Jello & champagne
    • Pina Colada: Pineapple Jello and coconut rum

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    You can serve your shots in a variety of ways:

    • Super simple: Make them in a rectangular glass cake pan, chill, and then cut into cubes.
    • Mildly tricky: Pour into 2oz plastic cups, slap a lid on top and chill until you’re ready to serve.
    • Slightly trickier: Gelatin Injectors take a bit more time but are worth it for the easy consumption your guests will enjoy! Just remove the injector cap, dip the injector-end into prepared jello & pull back the plunger to fill. Replace cap, wipe away any excess jello & chill.

    Finally, this recipe is super adaptable and easy, though there is some wait time – especially if you want to layer colors/flavors.

    Ingredients: For about ten 2oz shots, you will need:

    • One 3oz package flavored Jello
    • 1 cup boiling water
    • 1/2 cup flavored vodka (or other spirits) – chilled
    • 1/2 cup cold water

    It’s best to do some planning and container prep before you start putting your recipe together. First, whichever method you choose will require chilling time, so be sure to make space in your fridge.

    • For the cake pan method – you’ll need an 8×8 glass cake pan for this recipe. If you decide to double the recipe, be sure to pull out extra pans or a larger pan (such as a 9×13).
    • For the 2oz shot cups – align cups on a cookie sheet to make it easier to transfer from counter to fridge for chilling.
    • For the injectors – find a tub or large shallow dish that the injectors will fit in once filled – again, makes it easier to move the shots to the fridge.

    Instructions:

    Empty jello packet into a large mixing bowl and add boiling water; whisk together 2 minutes, or until jello is fully dissolved. Stir in chilled vodka (or other spirits) and cold water.

    Pour prepared jello into your glass cake pan, OR fill shots cups 1/2-3/4 of the way, OR fill injectors by removing the injector cap, dipping the injector-end into prepared jello & pulling back the plunger to fill.

    Refrigerate until set or overnight. If you want to layer jello colors/flavors, you’ll need to make one layer at a time and chill at least one hour before moving on to the next layer. Layers are fun for sports teams (blue and orange for the OKC Thunder) and holidays (red and green for Christmas or red, white* and blue for Independence day) – the possibilities are endless!

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    Be sure to visit Camelot Wine & Spirits for ALL your jello shot needs! We carry everything from 2oz plastic shot cups with lids, to gelatin injectors, jello, and MANY different flavored vodkas to make your wildest combination ideas come true.

    *To make white jello shots, you’ll need:

    • 2 packets unflavored gelatin (such as Knox)
    • 1 can of sweetened condensed milk
    • 1/2 cup whipped cream flavored vodka
    • 1 cup boiling water

    Pour whipped cream flavored vodka into a large mixing bowl, sprinkle both packets of unflavored gelatin on top and let it sit for a few minutes to thicken.  Add boiling water and stir until gelatin is dissolved.  Pour in all of the sweetened condensed milk and stir to blend. Fill containers and chill as described above.