As of a recent tweet posted by the one and only Elon Musk, joking about buying Coca-Cola and bringing back cocaine in its formula, I’ve started wondering. What is the actual original recipe for this worldwide famous soda?

A few deep web searches later, I discovered a brief history of this popular drink. It all started in May of 1886, in the backyard of pharmacist John Stith Pemberton, when he brewed his first Coca-Cola syrup, in a three-legged brass kettle. Pemberton, on the lookout for new recipes that would sell, caught on the massively popular cocaine and wine French beverage, Vin Mariani, consumed by literary figure Jules Verne and even Pope Leo XIII. The drink, sold as medicine, made these historical stoners feel great, the combination of cocaine and alcohol enhancing the high while promoting the strengthening of the system, combating fatigue, and much more, basically composing a cure for anything and everything.

As for the recipe of our beloved Coca-Cola soda, the very first ingredient list contained cocaine leaf extract, kola nuts, rich in caffeine, and sugar syrup, inspiring the catchy name. Pemberton himself designed the well-known flowery lettering of Coca-Cola, which, in case you haven’t been living under a rock, we all have seen all over billboards, TVs, and advertised everywhere the company can slap its logo. This thick syrup, combined with sparkling water, had its debut at the beginning of the 19th century as “Coca-Cola: The temperance drink”.

Rather than taking on the “cure-all” strategy Mariani used, Pemberton advertised the drink using the phrase “intellectual beverage”. It contained “the valuable tonic and nerve stimulant properties of the Coca plant and Kola nuts”, believed to be an effective “brain tonic”. While cocaine wasn’t illegal until 1914, Candler, the new owner, started removing any traces of coke, but it wasn’t until 1929 that scientists managed to perfect the removal of all psychoactive elements of coca leaf extract. Today’s version of this well-known soda and it’s annoying “Taste the feeling” ad we have all heard growing up may or may not remain the same extremely sugary drink because, let’s face it, with the humble net worth of 232.5 billion dollars, founder of SpaceX, Elon Musk can basically do whatever the fuck he wants and you would too.

articol scris de Anastasia Mihai

graphic designer: Ana Ciobanu