With options like strawberry white sangria sorbet, tequila Mexican “hot” chocolate and vanilla bean bourbon, good luck picking your frozen poison.
Tipsy Scoop, a liquor-infused ice cream-making company that has been gaining widespread attention across Manhattan, has recently opened its first storefront “barlour” on East 26th Street between Second and Third avenues, ushering in sweet tooth-bearing patrons 21 years of age and older.
Prior to opening the doors of its brick-and-mortar shop on Sunday, May 7, founder Melissa Tavss and Chief Operating Officer/partner Lyz Nardo operated out of a production facility in Harlem, with its products available for purchase only through its website and in select local retailers and supermarkets.
“We started about three years ago just doing catered events, and later began selling wholesale to specialty stores and grocery chains,” said Tavss. “About a year ago there were videos made about us that went completely viral on Facebook and people started coming to our Harlem facility, which is actually really hard to find. More and more kept visiting, so we would sell them pints, but we knew they wanted more of a branded ice cream store experience.”
After seeking spaces in locations like the East Village, which were often too small and overpriced, Tavss found the Kips Bay location at 217 East 26th St., central to many other restaurants, bars and cultural hotspots.
Before the store’s grand opening, the boozy ice cream, with alcohol percentages up to 5 percent, could be purchased either by the pint or in the form of cakes, ice cream sandwiches and party packs.
The perfectly-portioned customizable party packs make for memorable event favors, often used for bridal showers, birthday parties and corporate events. The company gets frequent requests for unique labels as a way to ask people to be a part of their weddings, the most commonly used flavors being dark chocolate whiskey salted caramel for the groomsmen and red velvet martini for the bridesmaids.
For Tavss, whose personal favorite is spiked hazelnut coffee, made with Patron XO Cafe Liquor, hazelnut liqueur and cold brew coffee, venturing into a business of this sort seemed intuitive, hailing from a family of ice cream makers from Italy, who brought gelato carts to Scotland.
Though her for-adults-only product is a far cry from the childhood favorite treat, Tipsy Scoop is very much an homage to her roots. The idea to give a boozy twist to the product she grew up with came about while working a marketing job for liquor brands, during which the company would host parties that served foods infused with the spirits they represented.
“Adding alcohol to recipes is something that a lot of chefs have been experimenting with lately,” said Tavss. “I thought to myself it would be cool if food actually had alcohol content that didn’t get burned out through the cooking process.”
A typical serving is roughly equivalent to one light beer, requiring quite a bit for one to get their buzz on. But, to purchase Tipsy Scoop products, customers must provide proper identification indicating that they are at least 21 years old.
At the grand opening of the bar-like ice cream parlor, complete with exposed brick walls, dim, amber lighting and authentic barstools, bouncers were present at the entrance, where the first 25 customers received dollar scoops and the first 50 were presented with the option of a free “ice cream wasted” tank or Tipsy Scoop tote bag.
With just a few days in operation, Tipsy Scoop is already proving to be a worthwhile community attraction, presenting New York natives and out-of-towners alike with an intoxicating summer treat that doesn’t force you to choose between dessert or a nightcap.
For more information, visit www.tipsyscoop.com, or find the brand on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using the handle @tipsyscoop.