December 21, 2021
There's a pretty standard belief among cooks that you never cook with any wine or liquor that you wouldn't drink in its natural, right-from-the-bottle, state. I agree. And until recently, I pretty much thought that fine whiskeys only came to Florida from faraway places like Kentucky, and maybe Tennessee. But, as the Fates and Bacchus would have it, on a recent trip to Hernando County, on Florida's “Adventure Coast,” I was driven down a country road to a backwoods distillery. It's there, between Weeki Wachee and Chassahowitzka, that Kevin and Natalie Goff lovingly create Wild Buck Rye Whiskey, in small batches, in a hand-hammered copper still and age it in charred American Oak barrels. No “white lightnin',” Wild Buck received an “87” National Rating from the highly acclaimed and prestigious.
Whiskey Advocate Magazine, beating out much more famous (and expensive!) competitors. Whiskey, especially fine whiskey, is made for sipping. A couple of ice cubes or a splash of spring water brings out the flavor, but some folks appreciate the liquor's aroma to be surrounded by more sweet smells and tastes. No, not Manhattans or whiskey sours—just simple-to-make Wild Buck Balls.
Easy Whiskey Balls Recipe
- 2 cups crushed Vanilla Wafers
- 1 cup finely chopped roasted pecans
- 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup light corn syrup
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/3 cup Wild Buck Rye Whiskey
- Coatings: chopped pecans, cinnamon sugar or powdered sugar
Toss the crushed wafers and nuts in a large bowl. Then, in a small saucepan, heat the cream, corn syrup and cinnamon over medium heat, stirring continuously until it boils. Stir the whiskey into the chocolate/syrup/cinnamon mix, and then pour the hot mix over the dry ingredients. Stir well with a rubber spatula. Refrigerate for about an hour. Form the mixture into one-inch balls, about 2 teaspoons each, roll in coating and place on a piece of non-stick parchment. Serve as a dessert or a decadent afternoon snack with coffee—or a glass of Wild Buck Whiskey. (Makes about 48.) FS
First Published Florida Sportsman Magazine April 2016