A Short History Of Coca-Cola.
John Pemberton invented Coca-Cola in 1886. Pemberton studied medicine at the Reform Medical College of Georgia and was a former Confederate States Army lieutenant colonel. After the end of the civil war, Pemberton moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where he opened a pharmacy and sold many of his recipes. Coca-Cola was intended to be a replacement for one of his previous panacea tonic drinks, “Pemberton’s French Wine Coca,” due to the prohibition of alcohol in 1885 in Atlanta, Georgia. Thirty-five years before the sale and consumption of alcohol was prohibited at the federal level; it was banned in Atlanta, forcing John Pemberton to reformulate some of his recipes.
When comparing the Coca-Cola recipe and Pemberton’s French Wine Coca recipe, it’s clear that he was trying to make coke appeal to a larger market by removing most of the medical qualities from his coca wine. His coca wine had medicine with anti-diarrhea, cough suppressants, sedatives, quinine, pain relief, anti-inflammatory, sexual stimulants, and cocaine and caffeine. All while being around 14% alcohol. All of that was removed from Coca-Cola except for the caffeine and cocaine. Since the wine was illegal, he needed something to mask the bitter taste of the stimulants and give the drink flavor. Thus Coca-Cola was invented.
John Wouldn’t live to see the success of his invention, though. He died two years later from stomach cancer at age 57 in August 1888. Around his death, he sold around nine cokes a day. Coca-Cola sells about 2 billion cokes a day now. John Pemberton sold the coke recipe to another Atlanta pharmacist Asa Candler in 1887 for $2,300. Asa Candler is listed as the Founder of the Coca-Cola company and, through aggressive marketing, made Coca-Cola one of the most popular fountain drinks by the mid-1890s. The last significant change to Coke was the removal of cocaine in 1903.
What Flavor Is Coca-Cola?
Keep in mind this may not be the present-day Coca-Cola recipe. Pallets change, and recipes get updated, but this recipe tastes like Coke. In this 1886 recipe, the iconic cola flavor combines vanilla, orange oil, lemon oil, nutmeg oil, coriander oil, cinnamon oil, and orange blossom oil. The most impressive part of this coca-cola recipe is how little of these oils are in each drink. So I will say when I originally wrote this section, I did the math and even wrote the proof of how much of each oil is in one coke. Although after writing it out, it was not fun to read, so I will give you the final values. Each 12 oz Coca-Cola is only:
- 0.0001083% Lemon oil
- 0.000072% Orange oil
- 0.000036% Nutmeg, coriander, cinnamon, neroli oil
Notice those are percentages, too, so that number is minimal. Those super tiny factions of a drink are where all of Coke’s flavor comes. I find that amazing.
How Much Sugar Is In Coke And How Healthy Is A Coke?
I will start by saying I am not a nutritionist, so don’t take my word for it. Consult a professional if you have questions. That said, a 12 oz Coca-Cola has around 40 grams of sugar and 140 calories. Everyone freaks out at this amount, and that is a bit. One should take all things in moderation, but if you are comparing calories, it’s nowhere near as bad as an alcoholic drink. For example, a mojito has around 24 grams of sugar, but it also has 2 oz of rum which gives it around 240 calories. The most extreme example is the long island ice tea which only has 13 grams of sugar but a mind-blowing 540 calories. Even a dry martini with less than 1 gram of sugar still has 185 calories. Long story short, if you want healthy, drink water. None of these drinks are healthy, but they taste good.
Download The Official Vintage American Cocktails App
Discover what classic cocktails you can make right now with the ingredients you have. Check out the Vintage American Cocktail app.
Make Cocktails Like A Pro
If you have ever struggled with a recipe or wonder why yours are not turning out like they do at the bar then check out my simple step-by-step videos. I will walk you through how to expertly build each drink so you get consistently great results.
- Free and simple step by step videos.
- Tips and tricks from years of experience.
- Historically accurate and balanced recipes.