Have you ever seen someone put shelled peanuts into their bottle, can, or cup of Coca-Cola? If you’re not from the South, the answer is likely no, and you’re probably questioning the combination we just described. However, it really is a thing!
According to the National Peanut Board, food historian Rick McDaniel revealed that the peanut-Coke trend likely started during the 1920s.
This is when packaged, shelled peanuts began making their way into country stores and gas station aisles — the same places where you’d find a bottle of Coke.
But, how exactly did the peanuts end up inside the Coke? McDaniel believes that working Southerners would pour the peanuts directly into their Coke to avoid getting their hands dirty or to prevent their already-dirty hands from touching the peanuts, since places to wash up might not have been readily available. Pouring the peanuts from the bag into the Coke could have also been a way for them to keep their hands free for work.
“What resulted was a mix of savory and sweet deliciousness,” says Esquire writer Justin Kirkland, describing his first time trying peanuts in Coca-Cola as a child growing up in the South. “Better yet, the peanuts stick around, stay crunchy, and give you a nice little snack at the end of your beverage. Think of it like the working man’s strawberries in champagne.”
At first, the idea of peanuts in Coca-Cola might sound strange, but when you really think about it, the flavors make sense.
The peanuts bring the salt, while the Coke adds a sweet tanginess. It’s a unique treat for sure, but don’t knock it till you try it!