Coca-Cola: Used to be a cocktail
It’s a well-known fact that the original formula for the world’s most popular soft drink featured cocaine, but did you know that the original also contained alcohol? The carefully guarded secret formula for Coca-Cola is derived from “Pemberton’s French Wine Coca,” a concoction of coca leaf, kola nut, and damiana, a fragrant flower often used to make a stimulating tea. Its creator was Atlanta pharmacist Dr. John Pemberton, who touted the wine coca’s medicinal qualities for anyone who was “devoted to extreme mental exertion.”
However, in 1886, when temperance laws went into effect in Atlanta and Fulton County, Pemberton had to change the tonic’s formula so it was alcohol-free, although it still contained cocaine and would until 1905. The result: Coca-Cola was marketed as a nerve tonic as well as a temperance drink.
Pepsi-Cola: Known for medicinal properties
Beyond its carbonation and cola flavor, Pepsi shares something in common with its main competitor, Coca-Cola. Pepsi also was originally formulated by a pharmacist: North Carolina’s Caleb Bradham, who in the 1890s began selling the concoction as “Brad’s Drink.” He touted the drink’s medicinal properties. Indeed, the name Pepsi-Cola, introduced in 1898, implies its origin as a health tonic: “Pepsi” is taken from pepsin, a digestive enzyme used in Bradham’s original formula. Just as Coca-Cola no longer contains cocaine, Pepsi no longer includes pepsin. In 1898, Bradham wisely bought the rights to the trade name “Pep Cola” from a bankrupt competitor. He trademarked the new name in 1903. Check out these 7 inventors who actually regretted their inventions.