Eat Granny’s balls

Granny Grab-Mor, aka Michael E. Tanner

Photo By Miranda Jesch

You would never guess that the quaint and cozy home at 1130 Forson Drive, just off of California Avenue, houses a business that makes chocolate liquored balls. Granny Grab-Mor, aka Michael E. Tanner, is the owner and proprietor of Granny Grab-Mor’s Southern Treats. In a friendly Southern accent, “she” offers me bourbon balls, crème de cassis balls (a black current liquor) and Southern pecan pralines, all of which are delicious. But the pralines in particular ensure that the next time I am thinking of having any kind of get-together, I will be calling Granny to whip up a batch of the rich pecan candy. To order your own, call 786-8031 or visit

How did you ever get started making liquored balls?

Well, the recipe I use for the balls is an old family recipe. I made them before in the South, in Alabama and New Orleans. For many years, I just made them at the holidays. … A friend of mine, Sharon Rock, who [owns] Paris Vintage downtown, suggested marketing my bourbon balls. … So I’ve been doing it in Reno for three or four months now, and I have also started doing the balls in about 15 different flavors: rum, brandy, banana, strawberry, crème de menthe and orange are some of them. Our biggest seller is the Butterscotch Schnapps ball. … We call the virgin balls “Balls With a Kick,” because there is a lot of sugar in them, but our regular motto is “Balls With a Bite.”

Who generally buys your balls?

So far, we’re in the process of doing test runs with some of the local coffee houses. … We cater to a lot of friends at this point with small get-togethers. On June 15 there is the coronation at the Silver Dollar Club, a place where I do drag entertainment on the weekends. … I’ll be making about 30 dozen candies for this event. But the balls are also great for weddings or bachelorette parties.

Do you eat many balls yourself?

In the beginning, I’d do quite a bit of sampling, but now I’m a diabetic. … So now I only taste a small sample when a batch is done, just to make sure it tastes right. Actually, the longer the balls set, the better they taste. They should set for at least three days, but a week is really good so all the flavors can be fully mixed. When you open up a box after a week, it’s like opening a new bottle of wine; it smells wonderful. The longer they set, the stronger they get.

Could your balls get a person drunk?

We had a friend who, as far as we could tell, had only had one or two balls. He had to be tested for alcohol after he left our house and he actually registered on the Breathalyzer. After having some of the balls, another friend said, “Girl, you need a liquor license for these.” Yeah, I would say that four of the balls might give you a nice little buzz.

What else do you do?

I do drag as Ava Grab-Mor [after Eva Gabor] at the Silver Dollar Club. I am also a registered nurse at Carson Tahoe Hospital in Carson City. I work in ICU and I am a Basic Life Support instructor. I am also a Mary Kay consultant.

What’s in store for the future?

I would really like to see this business flourish. I would like to see a nice glass-front store with a big sign out front that says: "Granny Grab-Mor’s Southern Treats."