Jello-O shots at bars could be a thing of the past. Jell-O shots are a party favorite. You pour your favorite vodka in some jello mix, let them sit, and there you have it--a classic.

The problem is that they are illegal in New York State and you might be trying to make them this weekend for St. Patrick's Day.

Some of you may be thinking that this is actually ridiculous. But, the New York State Liquor Law says that a 'pre-mixed' drink is prohibited from being sold or given away at the bar. Obviously, that includes Jello shots.

What does pre-mixed mean? Anything that is not made or mixed in front of you. How do you know what is exactly in that Jello-O shot? You hear stories about strange people who will slip something in people's drinks and that is why they have that law in New York State.


At bars and restaurants of course that is the law. At home, you can do whatever you want. According to the State Liquor Authority Handbook for Retail Licensees (

All alcoholic beverages must be dispensed from the container in which it was received from the licensed wholesaler. Refilling (including same brands), altering or tampering with the contents of any alcoholic beverage container is unlawful. Pre-mixing drinks (i.e. jello shots, test tube drinks, etc.) by the licensee, agent or his employees is also prohibited.

There are very specific laws when it comes to the New York State Liquor Authority. Some bars and restaurants are very against the Liquor Authority saying they have too much control, but really, they are just trying to make sure that everyone is safe. The laws are strict, and you can take a look at some of the laws that are most commonly broken in New York State.

What about if you buy drinks to go? Even if they are pre-mixed, you CAN purchase them from the bar. You CANNOT drink them at the bar then. According to the New York State website:

  • Alcoholic beverages MUST be packaged in a container with a secure lid or cap sealed in a manner designed to prevent consumption without removal of the lid or cap by breaking the seal;
  • Any purchase of wine or liquor for take-out or delivery MUST be accompanied by a purchase of a substantial food item;

Each violation has a specific set of repercussions, too. Some of the violations include warnings, fines, and even jail time. Take a look at those laws below!

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