Pepsi-Cola: Original 1893 Recipe

This post may contain Amazon affiliate links and as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. See our affiliate policy for more info.
The Pepsi Recipe Step-by-Step

Pepsi-Cola Recipe

5 from 1 vote Only logged in users can rate recipes
Course: DrinksCuisine: American




Total time



Learn how to make the original 1893 Pepsi


  • Pepsi Flavor Base
  • 8 oz 240 ml High Proof Alcohol

  • 0.6 tsp 3 ml Lemon Oil

  • 0.5 tsp 2.5 ml Orange Oil

  • 0.4 tsp 2 ml Cinnamon Oil

  • 0.2 tsp 1 ml Nutmeg Oil

  • 0.2 tsp 1 ml Coriander Oil

  • 0.1 tsp 0.5 ml Petit Grain Oil

  • Pepsi Syrup
  • 14 oz 400 ml Hot Water

  • 3 cups 600 g Granulated Sugar

  • 1 tsp 5 ml Lime Juice

  • 0.5 tsp 2.5 ml Acid Phosphate

  • 1/3 oz 10 ml Caramel Color

  • 0.3 tsp 1.5 ml Pepsi Flavor Base

  • Pepsi Soda
  • 2 oz 60 ml Pepsi Syrup

  • 10 oz 300 ml Soda Water


  • Combine white sugar, Phosphoric acid, hot water, lime juice, and caramel coloring in a large heat resistant mixing bowl.
  • In a glass jar, combine a high-proof neutral spirit, orange oil, lemon oil, nutmeg oil, coriander oil, cinnamon oil, and petit grain oil. Blend the oil and ethanol mixture with a wire whisk.
  • Add 5 drops of Pepsi-Cola flavor to the syrup.
  • To make a drink combine 2 oz (60 mLs) Pepsi-Cola Syrup with 10 oz (300 mLs) Soda Water.

Recipe Video

Pepsi Vs. Coca Cola Flavor

I will be comparing the original recipes, so they may differ from those sold today, but the original Pepsi and Coca-Cola recipes are almost EXACTLY the same. The essential oil flavoring is nearly the same proportions.

  • Pepsi is 3 parts lemon oil, and Coca-Cola is 3 parts
  • Pepsi is 2.5 parts orange oil, and Coca-Cola is 2 parts
  • Pepsi is 0.5 parts orange blossom oil, and Coca-Cola is 1 part
  • Pepsi is 1 part nutmeg oil, and Coca-Cola is 1 part
  • Pepsi is 1 part Coriander oil, and Coca-Cola is 1 part
  • Pepsi is 2 parts Cinnamon oil, and Coca-Cola is 1 part

The only difference between Pepsi and Coca-Cola’s base cola flavors is that Pepsi has slightly more cinnamon oil. The main flavor difference is Coca-Cola has a large amount of coca leaf extract added to the syrup and vanilla extract, and Pepsi does not. All of Pepsi’s flavor comes from the cola flavor essential oils, and Coca-Cola’s taste is from the combination of the essential oils, vanilla extract, and coca leaf extract. Thats it. Coca leaf extract has a warm, sweet green herbal leaf flavor. It’s illegal to possess in the United States where I live, but I’ve heard it compared to yerba mate and bay leaf. If you are curious to see the original 1886 Coca-Cola recipe, you can find it here. So when someone prefers Coca-Cola or Pepsi over the other, they are saying whether they like the additional coca leaf and vanilla flavor. There is no other difference.

History Of Pepsi

Pepsi-Cola was invented in 1893 by Caleb Davis Bradham in New Bern, North Carolina, and was originally named “Brad’s Drink.” By 1893, Coca-Cola was emerging as one of the most popular sodas in the United States, and many pharmacies were developing their own cola recipes to compete. In 1898, Bradham changed the name to Pepsi-Cola to market it as a healthier cola choice. The name change was based on Pepsi being marketed as a remedy for dyspepsia/upset stomach.

Caleb Bradham

The business grew for Bradham, and by 1910, they even held a Pepsi bottlers convention in New Bern, NC. WWI changed Bradham’s good fortune and made procuring ingredients difficult. Immediately after WWI, sugar prices soared from 3 cents to 28 per pound. After years of shrinking sales due to a lack of supplies and the sudden surge in sugar prices, the Pepsi-cola company filed for bankruptcy on April 17, 1923. Bradham sold the company’s assets to Craven Holding for $30,000 and was forced to disclose the Pepsi recipe as part of the bankruptcy process. Soon after buying Pepsi, Craven Holdings sold the entire Pepsi business to Wall Street broker Roy C. Megargel. Who relaunched it as the Pepsi-Cola Corporation. Eight years later, in 1931, the Pepsi-Cola Corporation filed for bankruptcy again, and Megargel sold the company to the Loft Candy Company. On February 19th, 1934, Caleb Bradham, the creator of Pepsi, died at age 66.

The original recipe from the 1923 bankruptcy made a massive amount of syrup, so I scaled it down to produce 1 liter of syrup. Keep in mind that this is not the present-day recipe. Soon after being acquired by Loft Candy, the recipe was modified, and it has been slightly changed several times throughout the drink’s history, with the most recent change happening in 2023 when the amount of sweetener was reduced.

Recipe Resources

Download the free Vintage American Cocktail app.

See what you can make with what you have.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Discover More Classics

Search our collection for more historically accurate drink recipes