Somewhere South with Chef Vivian Howard

Vivian’s Pepsi, Peanut, and Bourbon Float

These days, it seems it’s 5 o’clock everywhere, all the time, which makes it the perfect time to enjoy Vivian’s adult take on an eastern North Carolina classic. If you want to make a virgin version for the kids, just hold back the bourbon. Vivian whips out her Cuisinart Mix It In Soft Serve Ice Cream Maker to make sure the peanut ice cream is equal parts crunchy and creamy. Now you know why she couldn’t stop drinking this hyped-up eastern North Carolina staple during her appearance on the Rachael Ray Show. From “Deep Run Roots: Stories and Recipes from My Corner of the South,” by Vivian Howard (Little Brown, 2016).


  • 2  cups Peanut Ice Cream
  • 16  ounces Pepsi
  • 4  ounces bourbon (optional)

Peanut Ice Cream

  • 1  cup milk
  • 2  cups heavy cream
  • 3  cups salt-roasted peanuts, divided
  • 8  egg yolks
  • A tiny pinch salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Make ice cream: In a 1-quart container with a lid, stir together the milk, heavy cream, and 1 ½ cups peanuts. Tuck this in the refrigerator overnight. Roughly chop the remaining peanuts and set aside.

The next day, whisk together the egg yolks, salt, sugar, and vanilla extract in a medium bowl. In a 2-quart  saucepan, heat the heavy cream and peanut mixture to just under a boil. Slowly whisk half of this mixture into the yolks, taking care not to scramble them. Transfer the tempered yolks to the saucepan, and, stirring the whole time, cook until the mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon.

Strain it all through a fine-mesh sieve and discard the tired peanuts. Chill the ice cream base thoroughly—ideally overnight. Freeze the ice cream in your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. During the last few minutes of freezing, pour in the chopped peanuts. Let this ice cream spend at least 3 hours in your freezer before serving.

To serve: Chill 4 glasses. Drop a nice scoop of Peanut Ice Cream in the bottom of the glass, top with roughly ½ cup Pepsi, and finish with bourbon to your liking.

Yield: 4 servings