Bourbon Balls Recipe


By Richard Thomas

Bourbon balls are such a classic of bourbon cookery that several bourbon brands have their own. In my Bluegrass born and bred mind, though, Ruth Hunt’s Bourbon Balls will always remain the standard insofar as not just bourbon balls, but store-bought whiskey candies go.

That only goes as far as store-bought. For those who like making sweet treats at home, you can make have a go at making your own.


1 1/2 cups of table sugar
3 tbsp of dark cocoa powder
2 1/2 cups of vanilla wafers
3 tbsp of cane syrup
1/2 cup of bourbon1 cup crumbled pecans or hazelnuts (optional)*

Pour the vanilla wafers into your blender and process until they are cumbled into bits and powder. Empty the blender into a mixing bowl and set that bowl aside.

Pour in the sugar and cocoa into the blender. Pulse the blender until evenly mixed, and remove 1/2 a cup of the mixture for later use elsewhere. Pour the bourbon and cane syrup into the blender now, and give the now wet mix a few solid pulses. Pour in the vanilla wafers and the hand-crumbed nuts now, and pulse that in the blender until the mixture is evened up. Transfer your bourbon balls batter into a bowl.

Take a pie tin and fill it with the 1/2 cup of sugar and cocoa you set aside. Form the batter into balls approximately 3/4 to 1 inch in diameter. Roll the balls in the powder in the pie tin, coating them. Keep going until you use up the batter.

Set the balls into a tupperware or other plastic container and place that in the refrigerator. Let them set for a day, but they are basically ready to eat and require no baking.

* I personally can’t stand pecans and hazelnuts, but both are standard for bourbon balls. If you share my dislike, you have two options. One is to discard the nuts altogether and substitute more vanilla wafers, which is what I do. The other is to do that and, to satisfy those who like the pecans, embed a whole pecan into the top of the bourbon ball.

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