What Is Jelly Drink? And How Can You Make This Boba Tea Substitute at Home?

Here’s a brief story about my mom: A few years ago, we went on a family trip to San Francisco. My mom noticed signs around for bubble tea, something she had never tried or even heard of before. She made it her mission to sample bubble tea (or boba tea) during our trip. On the last day of the vacation, while walking around Chinatown, she finally walked into a restaurant, ordered a bubble tea, sat down, and took a sip. She hated it. (Incidentally, my mom isn’t the only person who has been unpleasantly surprised by the reality of bubble tea. You may recall this very funny video from a couple years back). 

Other people love it, though. The interplay of milkiness and tapioca snap is unique and enjoyable. But, for the most part, it’s something you can only get from a restaurant or cafe (save for a few at-home instant boba kits you can buy). There is a spot near me in L.A. advertising bubble tea that has been “opening soon” for about three years now. I’m beginning to think it will never happen. 

Enter jelly drink, which has recently gained prominence on TikTok, a version of boba you can make at home! 

What is jelly drink?

Okay, okay, jelly drink isn’t exactly boba, since real boba bubbles are made of tapioca. However, it’s a very close approximation. It’s a mixture of gummy candy, milk, and water. That’s it! 

It’s worth noting that while it’s called jelly drink or fruit jelly drink, it’s not really fruit-based unless the original gummies you add contain fruit juice. 

How to make jelly drink:

It’s super simple to make this TikTok jelly drink. First, take a bunch of gummy candies and put them in a cup. Then, pour on hot water with a ratio of about two parts water to one part gummy. Mix until the gummies have dissolved. Refrigerate for a few hours until the mixture has a Jell-O-like consistency. After that, you can pour milk on top of the jelly layer. Be sure to poke through the jelly a ton of times with a straw in order to let the milk permeate the entire thing. Slurp away and enjoy the result! 

If you’re looking to become a jelly drink master, The Kichn adds this tip: “The longer you chill, the chewier and chunkier the jelly will become, which leads to a better drinking experience.”

What does jelly drink taste like? 

Texture-wise, jelly drink really is pretty close to boba tea—you can use Yakult (a sweetened, probiotic, milky Japanese drink) instead of milk to get even closer. Of course, there are as many flavor variations as there are gummies, which is to say, limitless. The Kitchn recommends Haribo Peaches, but you can also try most gummy items, even just regular old gummy bears or gummy worms.  

About the Author

Matt Crowley

Matt Crowley is a comedy writer living in Los Angeles. He likes maple-flavored snacks, loves every kind of cheese, and is slowly learning to accept mushrooms.

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