According to Martin Booe, his grandmother, Ruth Hanly Booe, started a candy business with her friend Rebecca Gooch in 1919 in Frankfort, Kentucky. As the legend goes, Kentucky Governor Ruby Laffoon made the statement that nothing tastes better than a bite of chocolate followed by a sip of bourbon. This sparked a creative flame in Ruth's mind: Why not create a candy that embodied both chocolate and bourbon? It took Ruth two years to perfect the recipe for the bourbon balls that debuted in 1938.
The confection turned Ruth into somewhat of a culinary celebrity garnering her accolades in Gourmet and by Craig Claiborne in The New York Times in the 1950s. Today, Ruth's recipe is a closely guarded secret. Rebecca Ruth Candy still thrives and sells Kentucky Bourbon Balls made from the original recipe.