Hugh Pickens writes writes: "The recipe for Coca-Cola including "secret 7X flavor" has just been moved to a new vault on display at the World of Coca-Cola Museum in downtown Atlanta but what you probably didn't know is that the secret Coca-Cola recipe, at least as it was originally formulated by the drink's inventor, John Pemberton, has already been leaked. Pemberton's original Coca-Cola drink, which he formulated shortly after returning home from the Civil War and called Pemberton's French Coca Wine, was a knock-off of Vin Mariani, a French coca wine that was considered to be a 'nerve tonic' and said to have very beneficial effects says Mark Pendergrast. Originally, both Vin Mariani and Coca-Cola contained alcohol and cocaine but in 1886, Atlanta enacted prohibition legislation. "Pemberton thought they weren't going to continue to allow the sale of French coca wine, so he worked on trying to modify it and take the alcohol out of it," says Pendergast, author of "For God, Country, and Coca-Cola: The Definitive History of the Great American Soft Drink and the Company that Makes It". "That made it really bitter, so he had to add a lot of sugar to compensate." When Asa Candler took over the company, he decreased the amount of caffeine in Coke, and varied the amount of sweetener, further altering the soda's taste. So which Coke version is "The Real Thing" and does it matter? "Even if you tried to make 'The Real Thing' now, it wouldn't make any difference," says Pendergrast. "Why would anyone go out of their way to buy a fake Coca-Cola that would cost more than the cheaply manufactured real ones?""
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