The Tallulah: Coke, Peanuts, and Whiskey

One gastropub in Birmingham, Alabama is reinventing a childhood treat

Photo: Peter Frank Williams

Ever drop a handful of roasted peanuts into an ice-cold Coca-Cola? The sweet and salty pairing, rare above the Mason-Dixon line and vanishing below, conjures vivid memories from Southerners of a certain age.

Now, the folks at Birmingham, Alabama, gastropub Ollie Irene have reinvented the childhood treat for the cocktail crowd with the Tallulah, a drink made with Coca-Cola, peanut syrup, and a healthy pour of Jack Daniel’s. Named for co-owner Chris Newsome’s great-aunt Tallulah, who was a lifelong whiskey drinker, it is a smooth, nutty, and respectably boozy tribute to decades of gas-station tradition.

While the three-ingredient cocktail couldn’t be much easier to assemble, the peanut syrup—known to the savvy cocktailian as an orgeat—takes some time and effort to prepare. Make it ahead of time, and save it for company. As the weather warms, this unique libation with deep Southern roots will make for a refreshing conversation piece.


    • 1 3/4 oz. Jack Daniel's

    • 1 oz. peanut orgeat*

    • Coca-Cola

  • Peanut Orgeat (makes 1 ¼ cups)

    • 2 cups roasted, unsalted peanuts

    • 1 1/2 cups sugar

    • 1 1/4 cups water

    • 1 tsp. orange flower water

    • 1 oz. brandy or vodka


  1. Pour whiskey and peanut orgeat into a rocks glass over ice. Stir, and top with Coca-Cola. Garnish with roasted peanuts.

  2. For Peanut Orgeat:

    Pulverize peanuts in a food processor. Meanwhile, combine sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves. Allow mixture to boil for three minutes, then add peanuts. Lower heat, allowing mixture to simmer for several more minutes, then gradually increase the temperature. When mixture is about to boil, remove from heat, and cover.

  3. Let mixture sit for at least six hours. Then strain it through cheesecloth, discarding peanuts. Add orange flower water and brandy or vodka. Keep for up to two weeks in the refrigerator.

Recipe from Ollie Irene, Birmingham, Alabama