Cooking from the Bar Cart: Boozy Balls Three Ways

Make spirits bright with a trio of spiked confections perfect for holiday gifting and gatherings

Boozy Balls Trio; Ginger-Schnapps Balls; Bourbon-Pistachio Balls; Nutty Spiced Rum Balls on a silver platter


Ginger-Schnapps Balls, Bourbon-Pistachio Balls, and Nutty Spiced Rum Balls.

When all you want is a little something sweet after dinner or with a cup of tea on a chilly afternoon, these bite-sized adult confections are just the ticket. Each variation is loaded with flavor and texture from an ample dose of booze mixed with cookie crumbs and add-ins like dried fruit, chopped nuts, dark chocolate, or coconut. The dried fruit/gingersnap combo amped up with peach schnapps is tastier than any sugar plum. Bourbon and dark chocolate are a traditional pairing for good reason, but the addition of pistachios brings a nice change of pace from the usual pecans and lends a holiday green accent. And in the third version, spiced rum, macadamias, and coconut merge for a treat bursting with island flavor.

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One of the great things about these recipes is their versatility. Swap one variety of fruit, nut, or cookie for another you particularly like to create new twists. Although you can make each mix almost entirely in a food processor, prepping each ingredient separately and combining them by hand lets you better control textures. It takes just a few seconds for nuts to become nut butter, cookies to go from fine crumbs to gloppy paste, and dried fruit to gum up a processor’s blades, so use caution. After forming the balls, you can roll them in the usual powdered sugar or cocoa powder, but they will absorb it and may require another roll to coat at serving time to look their best. I prefer a fine cookie crumb or chopped nut coating for staying power (if I coat them at all). Whichever of these diminutive treats you choose, they make a sweet ending to a meal and a tasty holiday gift for friends and family, too. Let the good times roll.

See other recipes in our Cooking from the Bar Cart series.

Ginger-Schnapps Balls

Makes 48


    • 1 (8-oz.) container mascarpone cheese, softened

    • 1 cup powdered sugar

    • ½ tsp. ground ginger

    • ½ cup peach schnapps or apricot liqueur

    • ½ lb. dried apricots, finely chopped

    • 1 ½ lb. gingersnap cookies, finely crushed


  1. Mix mascarpone, powdered sugar, and ground ginger together in a large mixing bowl. Add the schnapps and stir to thoroughly combine. Stir in the dried apricots. Set aside ½ cup of the gingersnap crumbs for coating. Mix remaining crumbs into the fruit mixture to combine. Cover mixture and transfer to the refrigerator to chill until firm, about 1 hour. Roll mixture into 1-inch balls. Roll balls in reserved gingersnap crumbs. Store covered in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks.

Bourbon-Pistachio Balls

Makes 36


    • 1 cup dark chocolate morsels

    • ½ cup granulated sugar

    • 3 tbsp. corn syrup

    • ½ cup bourbon

    • 1 (8.8-oz) package Biscoff wafers, finely crushed

    • 1 cup lightly salted shelled pistachios, finely chopped


  1. Melt the chocolate over medium heat in the top of a double boiler set over a pan of simmering water. (Or place chocolate in a microwavable container and melt on low power until smooth, about 3 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds.) Stir melted chocolate, sugar, corn syrup, and bourbon together in a bowl until blended. Fold in crushed wafers. Set aside ⅓ cup chopped pistachios for coating. Mix remaining nuts into the chocolate mixture to combine. Cover mixture and transfer to the refrigerator to chill until firm, about 1 hour. Roll mixture into 1-inch balls. Roll balls in reserved chopped pistachios. Store covered in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks. 

Nutty Spiced Rum Balls

Makes 36


    • ¼ cup dark cocoa powder

    • 1 cup powdered sugar

    • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

    • ⅓ cup spiced rum

    • 2 tbsp. honey

    • 4 tbsp. softened butter

    • 1 (9-oz.) package Dewey’s hot cocoa cookies, finely crushed

    • ½ cup macadamias, finely chopped

    • ½ cup unsweetened flaked coconut, finely chopped


  1. Sift cocoa powder, powdered sugar, and pie spice in a mixing bowl to evenly distribute. Whisk spiced rum and honey together and add to the sugar mixture. Add butter and stir to incorporate. Stir in cookie crumbs, chopped nuts, and coconut. Cover mixture and transfer to the refrigerator to chill until firm, about 1 hour. Roll mixture into 1-inch balls. Store covered in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks.



Katherine Cobbs is a cookbook author and editor. Her most recent books are Pantry Cocktails (2021) and Tequila & Tacos (2020) published by Simon & Schuster. She also developed recipes for Garden & Gun’s The Southerner’s Cookbook – Recipes, Wisdom, and Stories.

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