These little meatballs are always a huge hit at parties and holidays. They are the perfect mix of sweet and spicy and there is no way you’ll be able to eat just one! If you’re feeding a smaller crowd, you can easily halve this recipe and yield the same delicious results. If you’re short on time you can use a bag of frozen cocktail meatballs however, to achieve the best results, make them from scratch. Homemade meatballs are so easy to make and they have a VERY noticeable taste and texture difference from their frozen counterparts. You can use whatever homemade meatball recipe you normally use, just be sure to roll them smaller so they are cocktail size.
Also, a good whiskey will make for an extra good sauce so choose something that you would drink on its own. Don’t run out and buy some expensive bottle of whiskey just for this recipe however, also realize that the $5 bottle you have on hand might not make for the smoothest, richest flavor. I’ve used a few different whiskeys for this recipe but my personal favorite is Tullamore Dew. It has a really nice, well rounded flavor and it really makes the sauce sing!
- 2 lbs cooked cocktail meatballs, preferably homemade
- 1/2 – 3/4 c whiskey
- 1 1/2 c ketchup
- 1 1/4 c brown sugar
- 1/2 c water
- 2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbs spicy mustard
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
Combine all of the ingredients in medium sized saucepan and bring to a low boil. Lower the heat to medium low and let simmer slowly until the sauce is thickened. About 20-25 minutes.
Adjust your seasonings to taste, if you prefer a very spicy sauce then add a little extra black pepper. Also, if you like a stronger whiskey flavor, add the full 3/4 cup of whiskey however, you can cut it back to the 1/2 cup if you prefer.
Once the sauce is thickened add the cocktail meatballs and heat them through. Allow them to lightly simmer in the sauce mixture for 40-45 minutes so that they have a chance to absorb all of the flavors of the sauce. Don’t let them go too long or the meatballs will become mushy and fall apart. Serve hot.
**NOTE** – These meatballs can be made in advance, they are even better the next day after they’ve had a chance to sit in the sauce overnight. To reheat the meatballs just place them in a saucepan over medium low heat until they are nice and warmed through. Give them a few gentle stirs during reheating so that they warm evenly and don’t burn.