Our Roanoke Rock Star and Woodford Reserve Bourbon Balls

In our neck of Northern Virgina, there’s a cool cozy venue hidden in a tiny strip mall in Vienna.  Named Jammin’ Java, it’s more likely to bring to mind a coffee shop.

It’s so NOT a Starbucks.

A small stage, intimate setting, live music.  With a 15 year old, Kurt and I don’t have a lot of time (or energy) to do a 10P show.  Yet, all three of us traveled down the road to see my sister Tina’s husband Jeff perform in a reunion gig with his old band, Not Even.

Not Even Reunion poster

It was A LOT of fun!  The weeks leading up to the event, I had been following Tina’s FB posts of the band’s rehearsals either in her and Jeff’s home in Germantown or at Jeff’s childhood friend Ted’s home in Roanoke.  I think one of the guys flew in from California!

rehearsal roanoke

Rehearsing at Ted’s (on the right, Salvage Dawgs sidekick, for you DIY network fans)

Even though Jeff’s older now (the band was in its heyday in the 80s), he still emanates brilliant stage presence.  You could feel the energy and excitement radiate throughout the hall as old fans stood, singing and dancing like they were in their college days.  The fans’ kids were there, too, taking it all in, including my own son.  He was clearly impressed by his uncle!

So what’s the must-have Christmas cookie for a southern rock star?  What else but the Kentucky bourbon ball?  They’re a Christmas staple for my family, but it was only last year when I used top-shelf Woodford Reserve.

Oh-My-God.  They were the BEST batch of bourbon balls I have ever made, and Woodford is not my favorite whiskey, yet these treats were smooth, so smooth.

These are no-bake cookies, and the more time they have to cure in the fridge or other cool spot, the better they become.  (Note:  store the cookies in a container with a tight lid, e.g., a cookie tin or Tupperware).

I make a big tin of these for the holiday season, and re-roll them in powder sugar as needed.  Be careful, though, they pack a big punch!

Bourbon Balls

  • 1 12 oz box (almost 3 cups) of fine vanilla wafer crumbs (crush or use food processor)
  • 1 cup finely chopped/ground pecans (I use a food processor)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 TB cocoa powder (unsweetened, not hot chocolate mix)
  •  1/2 cup bourbon (use Woodford or other high-end whiskey)
  • 2 TB light corn syrup

My stuff (I only had to buy vanilla wafers):


Our tree will soon cover that red wall…

Pulverize the cookies in a food processor, then remove to a medium mixing bowl.

Pulverize the pecans in a food processor and place with the cookie crumbs.  Add the sugar and cocoa to the cookie/pecan mixture.

In a small measuring cup or bowl, mix together the bourbon and corn syrup. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix well.  I end up using my hands.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until mixture is firm, about 2 hours.

When dough is firm, place about 1/2 cup of powdered sugar into a pie plate.  Form small balls from the dough, and roll in the sugar.  Refrigerate for a few days so the cookies can cure.  Re-roll in sugar as needed before serving.

These will be waiting for you, Jeff!


The longer they cure, the better the flavor!






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Filed under Cookies and Bars, Desserts, Family, Food

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