A Divine Coke Float

Two Southern classics, divinity candy and Coca-Cola, unite in one nostalgic treat

A hand pours a can of coke into a frosted glass with divinity candy

Photo: courtesy of St. Vito Focacceria

Nashville chef Michael Hanna has a sweet memory from early childhood. His Great Aunt Dorothy would whip up a batch of the Southern confection known as divinity candy, and his grandmother would drop a handful of them in a mug and douse them with Coca-Cola. 

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“It’s something I’ve always remembered,” says the founder of St. Vito Focacceria in the city’s Gulch neighborhood. “I’d get a sugar high.”

photo: courtesy of St. Vito Focacceria

These days Hanna spends most of his time baking sfincione pizza and other Sicilian fare, but he still makes divinity candy floats for his own children, ages one and four. “The divinity dissolves into the Coke float for a gooey, sugary treat,” he says. He follows his great aunt’s recipe for the nougat-like candy—which he shares below—but cautions not to attempt it on a rainy day. “Humidity is an issue.” 

He also makes sure to stick with Coca-Cola to achieve the proper flavor. “My grandmother always had those frosty, wide-mouthed, old-fashioned Coke glasses,” he says. “It’s childhood to me.”


  • Divinity Candy Coke Float (yield: 1 serving)

  • For the divinity candy

    • 2 egg whites

    • 3 cups sugar

    • ½ cup water

    • ½ cup light corn syrup, preferably Karo

    • 1 vanilla bean

    • Toasted pecans

  • For the float

    • 1 can or bottle of Coca-Cola

    • Vanilla ice cream


  1. Make the divinity candy: In a mixer or eggbeater, whisk egg whites with beans from the vanilla pod until they form medium peaks.

  2. Combine sugar, water, and corn syrup. Heat to medium. When the syrup reaches 235°F, temper half the mixture into the egg whites while continuing to whisk. 

  3. Place the other half of the syrup back on the stove and cook until it reaches 300–310°F. 

  4. Temper remaining mixture into the egg whites. Whisk for about 10 minutes or until the mixture is light and fluffy and can stand on its own. 

  5. Fold in toasted pecans with a rubber spatula, little by little. Place on a baking sheet with a spoon, and dust with a touch of powdered sugar.

  6. Make the Coke float: Add a handful of divinity candy to a frosty-cold mug with vanilla ice cream, and pour Coca-Cola over the top.