Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Coke You

3 drams USP Fluid extract of coca
3 oz citric acid
1 oz caffeine
30 something (units unclear) sugar
2.5 gal water
1 quart lime juice
1 oz vanilla
1.5 oz caramel
1 oz 7X flavor

That, my friends, is supposedly the recipe for Coca Cola Classic.  Oh wait, want to know what 7x flavor is?  You have to use 2 oz of it to flavor 5 gallons of syrup.  But we have the recipe for that too.

8 oz alcohol
20 drops orange oil
30 drops lemon oil
10 drops nutmeg oil
5 drops coriander
10 drops neroli
10 drops cinnamon

     There you go.  Now you can make your own Coke.  The recipe listed above is one of the most closely guarded trade secrets.  The recipe is held in a bank vault somewhere in Atlanta.  Only two people in the company are allowed to know the recipe at a given time, and they are not allowed to travel or hang around together.  I am sure there are reams of confidentiality agreements that have to be signed.  When Asa Griggs Candler began marketing Coke on a larger scale he would personally open all the companies mail so that employees couldn't see the invoices for the supplies he was ordering.  So how then, did we here at Big Dave and Company manage to get it?

I know what's inside of you...
     Well, it is pretty simple.  We read it on Yahoo!  They, in turn, got it from the folks at This American Life, which is a radio show that airs on NPR and other stations.  What they did was a lot of exhaustive research, and they cam across an article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution from February 8, 1979, that was published way back on page 28 and described a notebook that once belonged to a friend of John Pemberton, the original creator of the Coca Cola formula.  This notebook had lots of recipes, but the main entry was a recipe that was believed to be for the drink.  There was even a photo of the recipe for the drink.  That is the recipe listed above.  Or is it?
     Coke, for their part, says that it is not. And I suppose they should know, seeing as how they make like eleventy billion gallons of the stuff every day.  Company spokeswoman Kerry Tressler has said that "Many third parties, including 'This American Life' have tried to crack out secret formula. Try as they might, they have been unsuccessful."  The director of Coke's archive has said that this might be the precursor to the infamous formula, but it probably isn't even the version that went to market.
     And what does it matter anyhow?  The version that went to market has changes a couple of times, anyway.  Somewhere along the way the alcohol was taken out in the 1890s when Atlanta went dry for a time, and the company started using cocaine-free coca in 1904.  Plus there was that whole "New Coke" fiasco back in the 80s - the 1980s that is.  So the formula has been tweaked and changed before, and I would suspect that as new food technologies (thanks to guys like Clark Griswold) emerge and certain other things have become cost prohibitive there have been changes to the recipe that we just don't know about.  Besides, I would doubt that you are going to run out and try to make your own Coke anyway, Company, because you don't even know what neroli is - neither do I - although I looked it up and it says that it is similar in scent to bergamot - which I also don't know what it is.  Besides, you'd be better off trying to make OpenCola, and then you can fiddle around with the recipe. 

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