Lightly glazed with a delectably sweet and tangy sauce, these baked cocktail meatballs are sure to be a hit at any party. Our sauce combines Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey with ketchup, brown sugar, apricot jam and a splash of cider vinegar, but feel free to use your favorite whiskey or bourbon to add the signature flavor that makes this appetizer such a winner.
Whiskey-Glazed Cocktail Meatballs
- 1 lb ground pork, or turkey
- 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
- 3 tablespoons light cream or half-and-half
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 clove garlic, very finely chopped (optional)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
For the sauce:
- 1/3 cup ketchup
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey, see notes for substitutions
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons apricot jam
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 450°F, line a shallow baking pan with aluminum foil and coat with nonstick spray.
- Combine the panko and cream in a mixing bowl and set aside for 5 minutes to allow the panko to soften before adding the egg, garlic, salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Whisk until well blended, then add the meat.
- Gently mix the meat with the other ingredients until thoroughly combined, then form into 1 to 1-1/4-inch meatballs and arrange them on the prepared baking pan.
- Bake the meatballs until lightly browned and cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes. Using tongs, turn them once about midway through the cooking time for even browning.
- While the meatballs bake, place the ketchup, brown sugar, whiskey, vinegar and apricot jam in a large skillet. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Immediately reduce the heat to medium and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the mixture has reduced and thickened to the consistency of a thick syrup, 3 to 4 minutes.
Note: Because of its high sugar content, it’s important to watch the sauce carefully to avoid burning.
- Once the meatballs are done, add them to the sauce mixture and stir to coat. Continue cooking, stirring often, until they’re nicely glazed, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter and serve with picks.