An old-school soda fountain standby is getting tricked out for summer. In celebration of Coca-Cola's 130th birthday, Atlanta-based King of Pops is producing a special run of Coke Float pops.

“A Coke float is a great summer treat, and putting it into a pop just sort of makes sense," says former AIG analyst Steven Carse, one of two brothers behind the ice pops purveyor. “We get excited whenever we get to work on a new pop flavor, especially when it's really tasty — and this one's really tasty.”

The King of Pops crew joined Coke’s 130th birthday celebrations on Monday, refreshing guests on a sunny spring day with limited-edition Coke Float pops at events in downtown Atlanta and the company’s North Avenue headquarters.

King of Pops

Carse created King of Pops in 2010, taking inspiration from the paletas he sampled on his travels through Latin America. Made from seasonal fruit rather than brightly colored syrups, paletas were ripe for the picking at a time when Americans were rediscovering the nostalgic foods of their youth and reproducing them with intentional ingredients.

“Like clothes go out in and out of fashion, certain foods do, too," Carse notes.

Add to that a burgeoning street food movement and a tailgate-market boom, and Carse, recently laid off, found himself in the middle of a confluence of food trends. “I lost my job, and it just seemed like something that was worth giving a shot," he recalls. “I didn't really have a lot to lose."

King of Pops

Carse and his brother, Nick, have since leveraged a still-growing interest in farmers-market flavors into a thriving business. King of Pops mostly distributes its ice pops from old-fashioned pushcarts, which can now be found as far south as Savannah, as far north as Richmond and as far west as Nashville.

And though fresh produce is often the name of the game — the boys now have their own farm where they grow herbs, fruit and even raise bees for honey — the King of Pops crew isn't afraid to play with ingredients that don't come from the field.

Steven Carse, co-founder of Atlanta's King of Pops.

Isadora Pennington

“We've taken an approach where we'll try anything, but we still try to be really intentional about it," Carse said. That manifests in pops in produce aisle-inspired flavors like Creamy Avocado and Herbs de Provence Lemonade. But some pops riff on classic flavors more at home in soda fountains or coffee shops than fancy food markets.

Take for example the Coffee and Donuts pop, which combines java from an Atlanta roaster and baked goods from a local gourmet doughnut shop. Or the Coke Float pop, which blends classic Coca-Cola fountain syrup with sweet dairy from Savannah's Southern Swiss. King of Pops also adds a touch of fresh ginger to help recall the flavors of an old-fashioned float.

Together, these ingredients create a summery pop that's earned devotees for its nostalgic appeal and a flavor as classic as blue jeans — something that will never go out of style.

“We pride ourselves on unexpected moments of happiness," Carse says. “And I think this is a perfect example."

Coke Float Pop Recipe

Courtesy of King of Pops


4 cups whole milk

1 cup heavy cream

2 cups Coca-Cola fountain syrup (available at club/wholesale stores)

2 Tbsp fresh ginger

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

Mix all the ingredients and pour into pop molds to freeze.