photograph by Amy Brinkley

Pepsi has always been a staple in my household. As a child, I remember going to Joe’s Country Store in Maysville, NC with my Papa. He’d let me get a carton and fill it with glass Pepsi bottles from a refrigerator that had glass sliding doors on top. I remember barely being able to reach into the cooler, but he had patience and let me slowly place the bottles into the carton. It was Diet Pepsi for him and Grandma and regular Pepsi for me. Afterwards, we’d be sure to bring in our empty Pepsi bottles so that we could receive credit for them.

rum-pepsi-float-2There was always ice cream at Grandma and Papa’s house; they liked Neapolitan with strawberry, vanilla and chocolate so that we’d all have a variety to choose from. I would spoon out the vanilla, fill a Mason jar up and pour my bottle of Pepsi over the top of the ice cream. I loved seeing the foamy brown bubbles rise to the top of the glass. Then I’d devour it before the ice cream had a chance to melt.

A little later in life I learned that Pepsi was born in New Bern, North Carolina, about 20 miles from Grandma and Papa’s house. Other brands of soft drinks weren’t even considered in our household – a soft drink was always called a “Pepsi.”

As an adult who loves mixing up pretty cocktails, I’ve taken this childhood memory and made these Rum and Pepsi Floats. I use spiced rum, vanilla ice cream and of course, Pepsi. The spiced rum gives this float a smooth flavor that I enjoy while reflecting on my childhood days making “virgin” Pepsi floats in Grandma’s kitchen.

What’s your favorite memory of Pepsi?

What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup vanilla ice cream (more or less to taste)
  • 1 shot (1 1/2 oz) spiced rum
  • Pepsi
  • Optional: whipped cream and a maraschino cherry for garnish


  • Spoon ice cream into a 16-ounce glass or Mason jar. Add rum and top off with Pepsi. Gently stir to combine. Garnish with whipped cream and a maraschino cherry, if desired.

Amy Brinkley lives in Morehead City and is the writer and photographer of the food blog, The Blond Cook. Find her other archived recipes here.

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Brinkley lives in coastal North Carolina, and blogs about all things food. She is regular contributor on the Our State website, Parade Magazine’s, and