{recipe} Spicy Mexican Chocolate Tequila Balls (in the style of Bourbon Balls)

Every Christmas, my brother-in-law Steve requests a batch of bourbon balls like his grandma used to make. The original recipe for this old-fashioned holiday treat calls for crushing up nuts, Nilla wafers, powdered sugar and cocoa and moistening them with bourbon and corn syrup. They are no-bake and super easy to make, but the problem is, nobody in our family likes them but him! So this year I decided to shake up tradition a little bit and incorporate some of his other favorite things into the recipe, like tequila, dark chocolate, cinnamon, and chipotle powder, in hopes of getting a few more takers.

I am not sure Grandma would approve of this departure from tradition – but Steve definitely does!

A note about the spiciness factor: 1 teaspoon of chipotle powder makes them very spicy. I have recommended 1/2 teaspoon to give them some kick without making the spice too overwhelming. But Steve likes them with the full teaspoon.

RECIPE: Spicy Mexican Chocolate Tequila Balls (in the style of Bourbon Balls)
makes about 20 balls


For the balls:

  • about 40 Nilla wafers
  • 1 cup pecans or pecan pieces
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s “special dark” cocoa)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle powder (see note above about spiciness)
  • 1/4 cup reposado or añejo tequila
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tblsp light corn syrup

For coating the balls:

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tblsp dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon


  • Put Nilla wafers, nuts, powdered sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, and chipotle powder in a food processor and pulse until crumbly. It should be powdery with some chunks of nuts and cookies throughout.
  • In a bowl, mix tequila, vanilla, and corn syrup with a fork or whisk.
  • Add cookie mixture to liquid and stir well to completely moisten. If it is not wet enough to form balls, add a splash more tequila until you can easily mold the mixture into solid balls.
  • Combine all of the coating ingredients in a shallow bowl and set at your work area. Prepare a cookie sheet with a piece of parchment paper.
  • Roll balls with about 1-2 Tblsp of cookie mix and coat in coating mixture completely. Move to cookie sheet.
  • Let sit to dry out and harden for 2-4 hours. Cover and store at room temperature.

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2 Responses

  1. Donney Bibb says:

    Question, looks like a nice recipe, but why use corn syrup when agave syrup would perfectly compliment the tequila?