Chicken Bones: The 135-Year-Old East Coast Candy (And Now You Can Drink It)

If you know – or have – a Maritimer grandma, you have probably seen chicken bones in her candy bowl. No, I don’t mean the actual skeletons of poultry. Ganong brand “Chicken Bones” are hot-pink hard candy sticks filled with bittersweet chocolate in little inch-long nubs.

The cinnamon-flavoured confection sticks have been a New Brunswick candy favourite since 1885. Ganong Brothers Limited, the family-run confection business that first created Chicken Bones, is the oldest candy manufacturing company in Canada, established back in 1873.

Many Maritimers consider these pink candies to be a Christmas tradition or an essential stocking stuffer.

While Chicken Bones can sometimes be found elsewhere in Canada, they are quite rare outside of Atlantic Canada and usually only sold around the holidays in select locations in other provinces.

A package of Ganong original Chicken Bones. They are also now sold in bite-sized versions in a lighter pink package.

They are one of Canada’s oldest hard candies and, to this day, still created with the original recipe and same technique. Only a few Ganong workers with enough experience and expertise earn the privilege of handcrafting Chicken Bones.

Now, fans with a taste for ‘Chicken Bones’ can have their favourite nostalgia-driven candy in an alcoholic beverage, spiked coffee or hot chocolate or a dessert.

In time for the 2019 winter holidays, Ganong partnered with Moonshine Creek distillery in Waterville, NB. Together, they created a new corn spirits liqueur with the distinct combination of cinnamon and chocolate flavours that make Chicken Bones so unique.

Image from Ganong Facebook page.

The project came about after the distillery had held make your own moonshine workshops which allowed the public to come up with new concoctions with items found around the home during the holidays.

A Chicken Bones liqueur seemed like it would be a big hit.

The limited edition liqueur sold out quite quickly in December by Chicken Bones fans willing to wait outside in long lines. There were around 10,000 bottles sold.

For the 2020 holiday season, the two companies look forward to partnering again to triple those sales.

Whether you are the type of person who sucks Chicken Bones until the pink candy eventually reveals the chocolate filling or you are the type of person who tends to bite right into the candy for both layers at once, now you have a new option for consuming Chicken Bones – you can drink it.