Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Secret Recipe for Coca-Cola...

This was just too good to ignore. The amount of writing, conspiracy theories, hidden notations in previosuly long-lost notebooks is endless when it comes to 'Merchandise 7X' or to the non-executives and consumers 'Coca Cola'.

Ira Glass is one of my favorite journalists and the amount of traffic his story generated on the web crashed his site.

Here is the recipe by the founder of Coca-Cola, John Pemberton who was a close friend of Joe Jacob:

More fascinating to me was the 'de-cocaine-ing' of the coca leaves that still occurs TODAY. Shipments of the coca leaf come into NEW JERSEY. Surprise, surprise. Once arrived they are brought to the de-cocaine-ing warehouse. No convicted felons working there I imagine. Then after their journey from illegal to legal, the leaves are used in the flavoring. You can buy Coca leaves online very easily.

I think we all owe it to ourselves to give this recipe a shot.

*7X Flavor
Grain Alcohol (Everclear) - 8 oz
Orange Oil - 20 drops
Lemon Oil - 30 "
Nutmeg Oil - 10 "
Corriander Oil - 5 drops
Neroli Oil - 10 drops
Cinnamon Oil - 10 drops

F.E. Coca(Fluid Extract of Coca) 3 drams = 4 oz
Citric Acid - 3 oz
Citrate Caffeine - 1 oz
Sugar - 30 lbs. !!!
Water - 2.5 gal
Lime Juice - 2 pints
Vanilla - 1 oz
Caramel - 1.5 oz or more to color Color sufficient

***Use 2 oz flavor (above) to 5 gals syrup

How to Make This Recipe

As we said in the radio story, this recipe includes two parts. The recipe for the syrup, and the recipe for the 7X flavoring formula. You can scale down the recipe for the syrup if you don't want to make gallons of the syrup. You will need one ounce of syrup mixed with 5 ounces of carbonated water to make a serving of soda.

When you buy your ingredients be careful that you buy FOOD GRADE. There are lots of things you can find on the Internet that can be used in this recipe that are not food grade and will make you sick.

1) Make the 7X flavor. To make this, you'll want food grade essential oils at 100 percent strength. They can be found by searching for food grade essential oils in the grocery section of Amazon.com and other places (this orange oil, for instance).

For a home recipe, you can get an eyedropper and count drops the old-fashioned way, but if you want to be more precise, Steve Warth at Sovereign Flavors says he estimated each drop was .025 grams, which means you want 0.5 grams of Orange Oil, 0.75 of Lemon Oil, 0.25 grams of Nutmeg Oil, 0.125 grams of Coriander Oil, 0.25 grams of Neroli Oil, 0.25 grams of Cinnamon Oil (historian Mark Pendergrast says the original Coke recipe was made with a kind of cinnamon called Cassia).

Combine those with 8 ounces of food grade alcohol. This ingredient, we'll be frank, will be kind of a pain in the ass to find. Important: Do NOT use Ethyl Rubbing Alcohol or Rubbing Alcohol or Denatured Ethyl Alcohol. These will make you sick. You need food grade ethyl alcohol. Sometimes people swap Everclear or other neutral grain spirits for this, and our beverage guys suggest this as an easy, cheap substitute.

2) Make your fluid extract of coca. Buy whole leaf coca tea. Instructions for making coca extract from this can be found online. You don't need much. The recipe calls for 3 fluid drams, which is equivalent to 1/8 of a fluid ounce or – an easier measurement for a home kitchen – 3/4 of a tablespoon.

3) Make the syrup. Once you have your 7X flavor, and your fluid extract of coca, you are ready to mix them with your other ingredients to make the syrup. Mix your ingredients in this order: water, sugar, then coloring, then coca extract, then vanilla extract, then caffeine, then lime juice and citric acid.

Several Notes:

-- If you do not want to make several gallons of the syrup, you can adjust the recipe by reducing all ingredients by the same rate -- one half the original amount, one quarter, and so on.

-- Another important thing about this step, as we said in the radio story about the recipe, the Sovereign Flavors chemists concluded that in order to compensate for the intensity of contemporary essential oils (125 years of advances in food technology means it's possible that they're much stronger than the oils Pemberton used in his lab in 1886) the 7X flavoring addition should be reduced by 75 percent. That means, if you make the full size batch, you should only use 1/2 ounce of 7X formula instead of the 2 ounces specified in the original recipe.

-- You might want to cut down on the caffeine. We all got a strong buzz from the soda we made with the recipe, and then one of the beverage professionals pointed out that it was because it had five times the amount of caffeine of a modern soda.

-- Some ingredients are measured in fluid ounces, others are measured in ounces by weight. The team at Sovereign Flavors says if an ingredient is liquid -- coca extract or vanilla extract -- it should be measured in fluid ounces. If it's a dry ingredient, like citric acid, it should be measured by weight.

4) Make the soda. Once you have mixed the syrup, it should be combined with carbonated water at a ratio of 1-to-5 (one part syrup to five parts bubbly water) to make the soda.

Legal language we have to include here: If you're making this soda, it's entirely at your own risk. The soda companies and radio stations involved in this story make no claims about the safety of this old recipe.

-'How to Make' reprinted from 'This American Life'

Its a big batch...for your next potluck party maybe?

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