At first glance, you may not rush inside a restaurant called The Meatball Shop (or TMS) for an extensive artisanal cocktail selection. After all, the restaurant is primarily known by its slogan “We make balls,” in reference to its a la carte meatball dishes, with homemade meatballs ranging from turkey to pork to vegetarian, served on spaghetti or subs or salad.
But after giving the menu a once over, not trying at least one of their wonderful alcoholic concoctions would be a huge mistake. Head to any of TMS’ five locations in Manhattan or Brooklyn for a happy hour cocktail or a late-night round of drinks, and be tastefully surprised.
If you’re in need of a buzz that’s equal parts alcohol and caffeine, go for the Buzzed Lebowski, a creative spin on The Dude’s favorite drink: a white Russian. The milk and vodka combination gets its extra oomph from a strong shot of espresso, while dark roasted coffee beans float on the enormous ice cube floating in the creamy mixture, reminding you that this is serious business. This is exactly the kind of drink you want to order at the end of a long night on the town. Or for a friend who’s not convinced to stay out until 4am, the hour of TMS’ closing.
Bring out your inner child with a spiked float. A scoop of homemade ice cream- your choice of six flavors!- bobs in root beer or cream soda, splashed generously with whiskey. Here’s a sweet and easily addictive dessert drink that can easily fool you into ordering another one. For the next one, switch up your ice cream flavor.
Pitchers of Punch and Sangria
For groups of 4-5 people, $40 for a 40 ounce pitcher of made-to-order cocktails is not only a great deal, but a lot of delicious fun. Sit at the bar and order a sweet Peach Sangria or the house-made Fool Aid punch, which puts a classy and tasty spin on old college memories.
The Whiskey Grid
For those who prefer their alcohol in a more classic fashion, TMS has created a “Whiskey Grid” that provides an organized checklist of bourbon and rye, and offers them in a variety of preparations, such as in a Manhattan, Sour, or Old Fashioned. Fans of classic cocktails can also enjoy TMS’ interpretations on old favorites like The Bee’s Knees made with Greenhook Ginsmiths gin or a Moscow Mule made with Brooklyn Republic vodka.
Perhaps the most unique element of TMS’ menu is its daily rotating menu. From risottos to meatballs to salads, you’ll never get bored of options here. Most importantly, a daily jelly shot and cocktail is uniquely created by TMS’ mixologist. Items such as hot buttered rum, and kamikaze or kir royale jelly shots appear every now and again, and listings can be found online for day-of menu specials.
The Upper East Side shop also has a basement lounge with the funny name of Underballs, which is completely cocktail focused!