Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Coca-Cola's Secret Recipe

Producers of the radio program This American Life came across an article on the history of Coca-Cola in an old copy of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Coca-Cola's hometown newspaper. Published on page 2B on February 18, 1979, the article received little attention at the time. But, producers say, that's because no one realized the photo used to illustrate the story is a hand-written copy of John Pemberton's original recipe, jotted down by a friend in a leather-bound recipe book of ointments and medicines, and passed down by friends and family for generations.


The long story of Coke's secret formula begins with Pemberton, a veteran from Georgia who emerged from the Civil War with a morphine addiction. Hoping to cure his ailment, he dreamed up Pemberton's French Wine Coca, a brew that included kola nut and coca wine. But in 1886, as Atlanta passed prohibition legislation, he reformulated the drink without alcohol, renamed it Coca-Cola, and began selling it in Georgia pharmacies.

Asa Candler, an early president of the Coca-Cola company who bought the formula in 1887, worried rivals would obtain the recipe so insisted no one ever write it down again. Staff removed all labels from ingredient containers and identified them by sight and smell only. Candler even went through the company mail so he could shred invoices that employees might attempt to sell to other drink makers.


And while companies like Pepsi have deduced the general ingredients on their own, none have unlocked the "Merchandise 7X flavoring" that gives Coke its unique taste and bubbly burn.























The Notebook found by Everett Beal
A photo from the February 18, 1979 edition of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, purportedly showing the original recipe for Coca-Cola. The final recipe is in the right hand column. The 7X formula is below the horizontal line, the other ingredients above.

The recipe:
Fluid extract of Coca: 3 drams USP
Citric acid: 3 oz
Caffeine: 1 oz
Sugar: 30 (unclear quantity)
Water: 2.5 gal
Lime juice: 2 pints, 1 quart
Vanilla: 1 oz
Caramel: 1.5 oz or more for color

The secret 7X flavor (use 2 oz of flavor to 5 gals syrup):
Alcohol:  8 oz
Orange oil: 20 drops
Lemon oil: 30 drops
Nutmeg oil: 10 drops
Coriander: 5 drops
Neroli: 10 drops
Cinnamon: 10 drops

read more here
photo via thisamericanlife

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