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Bootleg Bourbon Balls™: The Story of our Notoriously Naughty Chocolates

Prohibition Photo Unloading Barrels

AP Photo


Bourbon Balls: Famously naughty holiday treats made by grandmas everywhere that evoke nostalgia for those familiar with the rum and bourbon balls of the past. Today, they aren’t just enjoyed during the holidays, but gifted year-round to celebrate all of life’s occasions.

Not familiar with these high proof confections? They were nearly forgotten. They’re back, still naughty — and oh so nice.

These aren’t your grandma’s bourbon balls and this ain’t your grandpa’s bourbon! We’ve created a twist on these traditional treats, invoking the “spirit” of our ancestors, and we can’t wait to share them with you. Whether Bootleg Bourbon Balls bring back fond memories or create brand new ones, they’re sure to leave you with a mischievous smile.  

What is a Bootleg Bourbon Ball? 

The name Bootleg Bourbon Balls was inspired, in part, by Kansas City’s boozy past. Known as the Paris of the Plains, alcohol flowed freely, even during Prohibition, in Kansas City.  

The term bootlegger also influenced the name. It denotes the practice of concealing flasks of illicit liquor in boot tops. The Bootleggers only wish they’d thought of concealing their booze so deliciously. 

A boozy past met a spirited future and Bootleg Bourbon Balls was born.

Bootleg Bourbon Balls in a line.


The Origin of Bourbon Balls 

Let’s talk about the story that brought us the naughty treats grandma made. 

Two enterprising teachers in Frankfort, Kentucky left the classroom in 1919 to start a company — Rebecca Ruth Candies. 

Ruth Booe and Rebecca Gooch, both in their twenties, struck out to open a candy business. They ended up creating a successful company before women even had the right to vote, and it’s still in business today. In 1929, after her marriage, Gooch sold her half of the business to Booe.  

During Frankfort’s 150th birthday in 1936 Booe attended a celebration at the Governor’s Mansion. Then famous for her Mint Kentucky Colonels, she brought them to the party where a dignitary in attendance mentioned a sip of Kentucky bourbon and a bite of Ruth’s Mint Kentucky Colonel chocolate were the two best tastes in the world. 

That inspired Booe to create the “single best taste in the world,” joining her mint confection with bourbon. Her secret recipe took two years to perfect, blending bourbon with chocolate, and introducing the bourbon ball to the world. 

It’s with this same enterprising spirit and passion for bourbon that we make Bootleg Bourbon Balls today. 

Bootleg Bourbon Balls Featured Collection

Each bourbon ball recipe we create is unique and handcrafted in small batches using a variety of Kansas City’s own craft spirits, as well as locally sourced pecans and honey. 

Our chocolate comes from Belgium and France, producing a creamy and smooth finish, which we perfectly match to the complexities of each spirit chosen for our recipes. The goal is to create a wholly complementary pairing of chocolate and spirits, marrying taste with narrative. 

The Prohibition era was filled with many colorful colloquialisms. With that in mind, let us introduce you to our notoriously naughty chocolates. They make up our Featured Collection and if you want to try them all, we’re sure you’d enjoy our Spirited Sampler. It’s considered the bee’s knees. 

Our twist on the Southern Pecan Praline.  

Bootleg Bourbon Balls Hooch Ball

Rum Runner
See you in the tiki hut. 

Bootleg Bourbon Balls Rum Runner Ball

Guilty Pleasure
The classic ball with the right amount of naughty.   

Bootleg Bourbon Balls Guilty Pleasure Ball

Dame’s Dish
We like our cherry in the middle. Guys and dolls agree. 
Bootleg Bourbon Balls Dame's Dish Ball


Blind Pig
As much fun as any speakeasy. 

Bootleg Bourbon Balls Blind Pig Ball

Hotsy Totsy 
Flappers and tom cats have nothing on this ball. 

Bootleg Bourbon Balls Hotsy Totsy Ball


Along with these delicious confections, check back often for our seasonal favorites like the summer classics Key Lime Looker and Molly Pitcher Mojito as well as the holiday favorites Noggy or Nice and Prohibition Pumpkin Spice. 

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