Since last week I went pretty far away from home to find my inspiration, I thought it would only be fitting that this week, I bring it back. That’s why I’ve chosen a drink that is inspired by my childhood and goes back several generations in my family. Many of you who grew up in the south probably remember putting peanuts in your Coke, or at least knew someone who did. For whatever reason, in my family, we chose to use Dr. Pepper in lieu of Coke. Don’t ask me why, but it goes all the way to my Grandparents, who were High school sweethearts. Mama and Papa would enjoy a Dr. Pepper with peanuts as an after school snack. It was a special treat, and I like to imagine them sitting on the hood of my Papa’s car, sipping their Dr. Pepper, out of
glass bottles and crunching on the occasional peanut that found its way out of the bottle; talking about the ways of the world, or whatever you talked about before the internet and social media took over. I love these thoughts and the inspiration that they invoke.
You may be wondering at this point, “What is the reason for putting the peanuts in the Dr. Pepper?” Well I will tell you….sweet and salty are two flavors that complement each other so well. The sweetness of the Dr. Pepper mixes perfectly with the salt off of the peanuts. It’s a magical combination that I admit I haven’t enjoyed in many, many years.
Today, when I was preparing for this post, I mixed myself up a bottle of Dr. Pepper (unfortunately, after scouring the greater Lexington area looking for Dr. Pepper in a glass bottle, I had to admit defeat and drink out of plastic) and peanuts. The first sip took me back to being ten years old and riding around with my Dad in his old blue, two tone, Ford truck after school when he was taking me to my riding lessons or whatever other after school activity I had going on. I loved these times. Just me and him, playing whatever memory game we had made up for that day, or just enjoying the silence of each other’s company. I don’t remember the first time he taught me to put a packet of peanuts in my Dr. Pepper, it’s one of those things that’s always just been a part of me. We would stop at the Circle K on 17, go in and grab two Dr. Peppers and two of the skinny packets of peanuts. I couldn’t wait to get back in the truck and pour the peanuts into the bottle. The salt made the Dr. Pepper fizz up and almost erupt out of the top….this was truly my favorite part. It always got so close to coming out, but never quite made it! It was almost as if the people at Dr. Pepper knew what we were
going to do, and put the exact amount of liquid in to fizz to the top without overflowing. I had such a pleasant afternoon with my memories, and thank this drink for bringing them back to me.
So at this point, you are probably wondering how I am going to turn this into an adult beverage. Well, I have to give credit to Garden and Gun Magazine for their version of what is known as a Tallulah. It is basically Jack and Coke, with the addition of a peanut simple syrup, known as peanut orgeat. An orgeat is basically a simple syrup with nuts and orange flower water. I know what you’re thinking….Dear God, where am I going to get Orange Flower Water. Well, have no fear, Amazon is here. You can find it with the mixers and bitters at most liquor stores, but if yours doesn’t have it, check Amazon and they can have it at your door in time for Friday night cocktail hour.
It’s a really simple syrup to make (get it…”simple” syrup. I know, lame joke, but I couldn’t help myself). You can make it way ahead of time and store it in the fridge. I decided to take this drink and put my own spin on it, calling it the Calamity, instead of The Tallulah. My version uses the peanut orgeat, but I swap out the Coke for Dr. Pepper and instead of Jack Daniels, I’m using Kentucky Bourbon. I raided my husband’s collection of fine bourbons and settled on the William Larue Weller. Sacrilegious, I know, to use such a fine bourbon to make a mixed drink, but if I’m going to create a drink and go to the trouble of naming it, I’m going to use the best. And besides, we didn’t have any well bourbon in the house and I’ve already taken the baby to 3 different liquor and wine stores this week. My phone is constantly trying to check me in at Liquor Barn on Facebook. Someone is going to call Child Protective Services on me for buying more alcohol than baby food if I don’t slow down! After Trev saw the pictures, he freaked out, but I soothed his anger with, “at least I didn’t open the 20 Year Pappy.”
I also thought this would be the perfect drink to help introduce my new favorite find of all
time….the traveling bar! Go to Etsy.com. Search for travel bar. Buy one. You can thank me later. You will be the hit of every tailgate and outdoor outing with your travel bar. I will be giving it its own post this weekend, going into great detail of all the benefits of having it in your survival kit, as well as the extras I added to mine to trick it out. I have nothing that is stock off of the lot, and that includes my travel bar! But I couldn’t wait to showcase the travel bar, and since this drinks was inspired by the truck rides I had with my Dad, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to make you drool over my fantastic find! Besides, I’m using the good bourbon, I’m going to serve it off of a silver tray that is resting on top of antique lace. The travel bar can carry everything you need to make these drinks, so that you can show up and flawlessly start serving!
Well let’s get to it!
First, the orgeat. You can make this ahead of time and store it in the fridge for about two to three weeks. Don’t be intimidated by making a flavored simple syrup. I made this one while tending to an angry four month old, who is mad that he can’t eat regular food yet and is tired of milk and mushy cereal! It doesn’t require a lot of time and after you are done with the steps that involve the stove (which takes about ten minutes), you can do the rest at your own pace, in-between whatever else you have going on.
Peanut Orgeat – Makes about 1 ¼ Cups of syrup
– 2 cups of salted peanuts (another change I made. The saltier the better!)
– 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
– 1 ¼ cups water
– 1 teaspoon Orange Flower Water
– 1 ounce brandy (you can also use Vodka, but since I don’t drink Vodka, I stuck with the brandy)
– Cheese cloth (you can get this at the grocery store in the section that sells the cooking utensils. This is one thing that I always have on hand in the kitchen. It can serve so many purposes!)
– Pulverize the peanuts in a food processor or blender.
– Combine the water and sugar in a pot on the stove over medium heat. Stir it until the sugar is dissolved and the water looks clearer again.
– Allow it to boil for about three minutes and then add the peanuts.
– Lower the heat and let it simmer for a few more minutes.
– Start to increase the heat, slowly.
– Right before it’s about to boil again, remove the pot from the heat and let it sit, covered for at least six hours.
– After the steeping period, put the cheese cloth in a colander and strain the peanuts out of the syrup over a large bowl.
– Get rid of the peanuts and add the Orange Flower
Water and Brandy or Vodka to the syrup. I store mine in a mason jar in the fridge.
– 2 ounces of Kentucky Bourbon
– 1 ounce of Peanut Orgeat (you can play with the amounts to get your own precise levels of salty versus sweet)
– Dr. Pepper
– Peanuts to garnish
– Put ice in a glass or solo cup. Whatever you are drinking out of.
– Pour in Bourbon and Peanut Orgeat.
– Add your preferred amount of Dr. Pepper.
– Throw a few peanuts on top for a garnish and a little added salt.
– Enjoy and hopefully bring back some great childhood memories!