To top the panna cotta, choose brightly colored liqueurs or flavored syrups such as blue curaçao, crème de menthe, framboise, cassis, pomegranate, berry, mango, mandarin orange, or coffee. The panna cotta can also be served in larger martini glasses for a full-size dessert. You can assemble either form up to 2 days ahead; chill airtight.
6 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup flavored syrup or liqueur (one flavor or four different ones; see notes)
How to Make It
In a 1- to 1 1/2-quart pan, mix 6 tablespoons sugar and 1 teaspoon gelatin. Stir in whipping cream; let stand to soften gelatin, 1 to 2 minutes.
Stir cream mixture over medium heat until sugar and gelatin are completely dissolved and mixture feels smooth, 3 to 4 minutes. Pour into a 2- to 4-cup glass measure and stir in vanilla. Let mixture stand until just warm, stirring occasionally, 10 to 15 minutes. Pour into 12 shot glasses (3- to 4-tablespoon size). Chill until firm, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
When panna cotta is firm, make toppings: In a 1- to 2-quart pan, mix remaining 1 teaspoon sugar and 1/2 teaspoon gelatin. Add 1/4 cup water; let stand 1 minute. Stir over high heat until mixture is simmering, 1 to 2 minutes. If making only one flavor, stir flavored syrup or liqueur into mixture; if making four, pour gelatin mixture equally into four small bowls and stir 2 tablespoons syrup or liqueur into mixture in each bowl. Let cool to room temperature, 2 to 5 minutes.
Spoon about 1/4 inch of the cool topping over each firm panna cotta shot. Chill until firm, at least 1 1/2 hours.