Coca-Cola: Original 1886 Recipe - Vintage American Cocktails (2024)

Coca-Cola: Original 1886 Recipe - Vintage American co*cktails (1)


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Course: DrinksCuisine: American

How to make the original 1886 Coca-Cola.


  • 7x Flavor Base
  • 8 oz 240 ml High Proof Neutral Spirit (Everclear 190)

  • 0.2 tsp 1 ml Orange Oil

  • 0.3 tsp 1.5 ml Lemon Oil

  • 0.1 tsp 0.5 ml Nutmeg Oil

  • 0.1 tsp 0.5 ml Coriander Oil

  • 0.1 tsp 0.5 ml Cinnamon Oil

  • 0.1 tsp 0.5 ml Neroli Oil

  • Imitation Coca Leaf Extract (Optional)
  • 6 oz 180 ml High Proof Alcohol

  • 4 tbsp 60 g Yerba Mate

  • 2 tbsp 30 g Bay Leaf

  • 1886 Coca-Cola Syrup
  • 14 oz 400 ml Hot Water

  • 3 cups 600 g White Sugar

  • 1 tsp 2.5 g Citric Acid

  • 2 tsp 10 ml Lime Juice

  • 400 mg 400 Caffeine

  • 2.5 oz 75 ml Imitation Coca Leaf Extract (Optional)

  • 2 tsp 10 ml Caramel Coloring

  • 1 tsp 5 ml Vanilla Extract

  • 0.3 tsp 1.5 ml 7x Flavor Base

  • 1886 Coca-Cola
  • 2 oz 60 ml Coca-Cola Syrup

  • 10 oz 300 ml Soda Water


  • In a large, heat-resistant mixing bowl, combine white sugar, citric acid, hot water, lime juice, caffeine, and caramel coloring.Coca-Cola: Original 1886 Recipe - Vintage American co*cktails (2)
  • In a glass jar, combine a high-proof neutral spirit, orange oil, lemon oil, nutmeg oil, coriander oil, cinnamon oil, and neroli oil. Blend the oil and ethanol mixture with a wire whisk.Coca-Cola: Original 1886 Recipe - Vintage American co*cktails (3)
  • Add 30 drops (1.5 mLs) of 7x coca-cola flavor to the syrup.Coca-Cola: Original 1886 Recipe - Vintage American co*cktails (4)
  • Add vanilla extract to the syrup.Coca-Cola: Original 1886 Recipe - Vintage American co*cktails (5)
  • To make a drink combine 2 oz (60 mLs) Coca-Cola Syrup with 10 oz (300 mLs) Soda Water.Coca-Cola: Original 1886 Recipe - Vintage American co*cktails (6)

Recipe Video

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’sFrenchWine 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.

Coca-Cola: Original 1886 Recipe - Vintage American co*cktails (7)

Click here to check out the Feb 11, 2011 radio broadcast of “This American Life” From NPR Here

When comparing the Coca-Cola recipe and Pemberton’s French Wine Coca recipe, it’s clear that he was trying to make co*ke 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 26% 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.

Coca-Cola: Original 1886 Recipe - Vintage American co*cktails (8)

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 co*kes a day. Coca-Cola sells about 2 billion co*kes a day now. John Pemberton sold the co*ke 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 co*ke was the removal of cocaine in 1903.

What Flavor Is Coca-Cola?

Two notebooks from the time contain the Coca-Cola recipe, Pemberton’s recipe book, and his pharmaceutical friend R.R. Evan’s notebook. I did quite a bit of experimenting with the two Coca-Cola recipes and found the best combination was R.R. Evans’s 7x Flavor base recipe with Pemberton’s syrup recipe and the amount of 7x he added to the syrup. Pemberton’s 7x recipe is WAY too oily, but Evan’s was spot on. Evan’s syrup is good, but he adds WAY too much 7x, but Pemberton’s syrup is excellent, and he adds the perfect amount of 7x flavor. Combining the two, I got a syrup that tastes precisely like 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 co*ke. 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 co*ke. 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 very small. Those super tiny factions of oil are where all of co*ke’s flavor comes. I find that amazing. Neroli oil is expensive and difficult to find, so orange blossom water can be substituted. To substitute orange blossom water for neroli, add 1.5 tsp (7.5 mLs) of orange blossom water directly to the final syrup while adding the vanilla extract. If you are curious to learn about the Pepsi-Cola recipe and how the two are different, you can find that link here.

How Much Sugar Is In co*ke And How Healthy Is A co*ke?

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.

Coca-Cola: Original 1886 Recipe - Vintage American Cocktails (2024)
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