Years ago a friend of mine sent me her mother’s recipe for bourbon balls; it was an unexpected gesture (always the best kind of gesture, excepting the one that’s made by flicking one’s fingers under one’s chin in the direction of someone who needs to buzz off). For years, I’ve trotted those bourbon balls out at holiday time and obviously for the Kentucky Derby because, you know, bourbon. They are universally beloved. I futzed with the original recipe, making it my own by changing the nut from walnuts to pecans. I’m not overly fond of walnuts—I find them unpleasantly oily; for me, they’re the used car salesman of the nut world. Plus pecans and bourbon go together in my mind, probably because of that whole combining-them-together-in-a-pie business.
At some point along the way I started writing about desserts and drinks and I shared my bourbon ball recipe with the world, or at least the small sliver of the world that was reading my weird natterings about vodka-lemonade punch and cookie trays. Among those weird natterings was an ode to the Dark & Stormy, the classic summertime cocktail made with dark rum and ginger beer that goes down all too fast, such that before you know it you’re calling for another round of Stark & Dormies.
To stave off embarrassment, I’ve taken to calling them Stark & Dormies from the get-go so when someone attempts to bust me out in my all my slurring glory I can be all, “Nuh-uhhhhhh. Thassss juss the way I say it.”
No one has ever caught on.
Eventually I, assuredly in some sort of drunken stupor, came up with the idea of making a Stark & Dormy Ball. I am, at the very least, a creative drunk. And now I’m also obsessed with coming up with every possible variation. White Russian Balls? Obviously. [...]