Melissa Tavvs will be the first to tell you, “Ice cream runs in my family.”
It all started back in the 1800s when her ancestors brought gelati from Italy to sell off of a cart on the streets of Glasgow, Scotland. Through the generations, her family continued making and selling ice cream in Scotland and England.
With all this ice cream in her, well…blood, you would think Melissa always knew she would continue the family tradition. Not necessarily so.
After working for various wine and spirits brands, at age 26, Melissa wasn’t really sure what she wanted to do. So, she decided to go back to college.
It was there that her love for a good cocktail and a calling to perfect her own homemade ice cream recipe ignited one tasty, tipsy idea. Why not increase the amount of alcohol some recipes call for (in order to soften the ice cream), and flavor the ice cream with it while maintaining the alcohol content?
Creating Boozy Ice Cream Takes More Than Just Drunk Talk
Melissa has heard “I had that idea to make boozy ice cream,” more than once. As a successful entrepreneur, Melissa proved it’s actually much harder to execute than most might think.
She began bringing her idea to fruition by pairing whisky and dark chocolate. This was inspired by the whisky tastings she had attended during her tenure at a spirits company.
The next step was to add salted caramel. Once she perfected the flavor of the cocktail, she translated that into her very first ice cream flavor: Dark Chocolate Whisky Salted Caramel.
This flavor remains her very best-selling ice cream to this day.
Through experimentation, Melissa discovered how to maintain the alcohol content in her ice cream. Unlike rum cakes or other baked goods that reduce alcohol to flavoring only, freezing it maintains the alcohol content.
Hand-crafting her ice cream pint-by-pint out of her own kitchen, Melissa went through much trial and error. Eventually, she perfected the perfect consistency and several boozy ice cream flavors.
She started selling it at events (much like her great, great, great grandfather back in Scotland).
Through word-of-mouth, the good news spread quickly. Videos of Melissa’s deliciously-spiked ice cream went viral on social media, and Tipsy Scoops was on its way.
However, Melissa’s road to ultimate success wasn’t always sugar coated.
Nevertheless, She Persisted
During the business’s fledgling years, Melissa and company had many obstacles to overcome.
They moved production to a shared commercial kitchen space. As a “small fish in a big pond,” they often had to stand their ground and fight for station space.
Some of the grocery stores that initially sold Tipsy Scoops wound up pulling it off of shelves when they realized they had to card anyone trying to buy it.
One of Melissa’s biggest challenges came from the federal government. Eventually, Tipsy Scoops received approval as a non-beverage, which eliminated the need for a liquor license.
Through it all, Melissa learned the most important ingredient was persistence.
You Scream, I Scream, We All Scream for (alcohol-infused) Ice Cream!
Today, Tipsy Scoops’ spiked ice cream, sorbet, ice cream cakes, ice cream sandwiches and seasonal creations are produced in their very own commercial kitchen in East Harlem.
They use local and seasonal ingredients to create flavors inspired by contemporary and classic cocktails such as: Mango Margarita Sorbet, Spiked Mint Chocolate Chip, “Hot” Buttered Rum, Cake Batter Vodka Martini, Maple Bacon Bourbon, Spiked Hazelnut Coffee, and many more.
We are delighted to offer many Tipsy Scoops’ spiked frozen treats right here at Ayza.
So, go ahead and order one. Just don’t be surprised when your server asks for ID—two scoops of this “adult” ice cream contains up to 5% ABV, which is equivalent to one light beer!
Don’t eat your spiked ice cream on an empty stomach! Start with a delicious entrée at Ayza.