Ever Tried Peanuts in Coke?

That's Nuts

A weekly dose of nutty history, pop culture, and recipes from Lee Zalben, aka The Peanut Butter Guy.


[Photograph: Rachel Garbade]

First take a few swigs of the soda and when there seems to be enough room in the bottle, pour in a package of salted peanuts. Many diehards insist that you've got to do this in a glass bottle, not plastic or a can, for the full effect. And sticklers will tell you definitely no Diet Coke, Coke Zero, or other brand substitutions allowed.

Nobody knows who exactly came up with this inspired idea of putting peanuts in Coke, but the pairing is guessed to go as far back as the 1920s. I've heard stories of busy Southern farmers who didn't have time to break for lunch and would eat this on their tractors while in the field. References to salted peanuts in Coke pop up in historical fiction including The Secret Life of Bees, and other stories about the American south during the 50s and 60s.

This flavor combination is so beloved that you can even find some unique recipes that riff off the combination, like Coca-Cola Cake with Broiled Peanut Icing (recipe here).

But drinking Coca-Cola with salted peanuts isn't only about the genius pairing of sweet and salty flavors; it's about the experience, and knowing that your taking part in a tradition that has gone on for generations.

Have you ever tried peanuts in Coke? Got any fond memories of the combination?