Once upon a time.... In 1974 Ron Harris moved from Fairdale, Kentucky to New York City to be an actor. In 1978, Jane Badgers moved from Boston, Massachusetts to New York to be an actor. In a Commedia piece at the Riverside Shakespeare Company, Ron and Jane met, fell madly in love and married. For the next 21 years, they worked in theatre, film and television, working together as much as possible. In their free time, they worked at lovingly renovating their small Victorian house. But after 9/11, the city changed. That day, they got a half inch of toxic ash in their backyard in Brooklyn. It was time for a kinder, gentler place to live. Their love of the magnificent Victorian mansions of Old Louisville brought them home. They sold their Brooklyn house for a tidy sum and bought a home on Millionaire's Row in Old Louisville.
For the last four years they lived in New York, they both worked on a TV show called "Law and Order: Criminal Intent." Ron stood in for the star of the show, Vincent D'Onofrio. Jane was a regular in the squad room. When they left the show, Vincent gave Ron two cases of Knob Creek bourbon as a going-away present. That became the "seed bourbon" for their new business.
Happy Balls are Kentucky Bourbon candy, handmade with only the finest ingredients including a 9-year-old single-barrel bourbon. The candy kitchen is located on the third floor of their home. There are no retail sales; only wholesale and website orders are processed.
Happy Balls are made from an old family recipe that Ron's Aunt Happy gave him many years ago. They're called "Happy Balls" in her honor. Everyone who's ever had one has declared them the best Bourbon candy they've ever tasted. (They've been saying it for over twenty years so it must be true.) Even Aunt Happy said that Ron has perfected the recipe.
He started making them at his wife's suggestion back in the days when they were struggling actors in New York City. Casting directors and agents are so swamped with actors looking for work that they have very short memories. But, as Jane, a former press agent, says, "Once they tasted our balls, they never forgot us." For years everyone has been encouraging them to go into the candy business. Now that they're back in the Bluegrass and have a 110 year-old Victorian Mansion to "feed," they decided it was time to get busy and share all that goodness. That's how The Old Louisville Candy Company was born.
Ron here. My Aunt Happy was a God-fearing woman.That's why it was a shock to my sister-in-law when she caught a glimpse of Aunt Happy hunkered down behind the wheel, high-tailin' it out of the drive-through window of the local liquor store.Was Aunt Happy a closet nipper?Of course not.
But every Christmas Aunt Happy used to make the finest bourbon balls in all the land and you can't make balls without bourbon... so she drove fast and kept her head down.
Handmade candy is hard work and over the years Aunt Happy's arthritis started making it hard for her to roll and dip, so about 20 years ago she passed the coveted recipe on to me. I did a little tweaking... upgrading the chocolate and the bourbon, and I made them a little bigger. Did Aunt Happy approve? I'll say! In fact, she declared them PERFECT!My bourbon buttercream isn't full of emulsifiers, chemicals and ten-dollar words... Just pure creamery butter, extra-fine sugar and lots of pecan nuggets soaked in 9-year-old 100 proof single-barrel bourbon just to keep you interested. No short cuts here... we roll and dip each ball by hand, finishing with the crowning touch of a perfect pecan half.