fig. a: Coca-Cola girl
We're not the biggest consumers of soft drinks--in fact, we barely drink any at all--but we certainly can appreciate the tonic qualities of an ice-cold Coca-Cola on occasion, and Michelle has been known to contemplate the mysteries of its fabled secret formula. So I was pretty excited to tell her that our good friends at This American Life had cracked the code. That's right. While conducting research into Coke's original recipe and the carefully rehearsed myth of secrecy that the Coca-Cola Corporation has cultivated for well over a century, This American Life discovered a photograph that appeared to contain the legendary 7X formula. A published photograph! As in: it had been published in a newspaper! In Atlanta! In 1979!
They then took pains to validate the authenticity of their discovery. And if that wasn't enough, they enlisted some high-powered soda industry help to make a batch from scratch.
This is a tale of intrigue and shocking surprises. It's a tale of trial, error, persistence, and triumph. And it makes for great radio. It's also the best piece of food & drink-related sleuthing we've come across since Matt & Ted Lee's New York Times piece on Marilyn Monroe's stuffing recipe. But let's face it: this is big. It's like discovering the Holy Grail by comparison.
I wasn't the only one who was excited. Michelle was thrilled (just look at that smile). And I don't think I've ever heard Ira Glass this excited about anything ever before. He was positively beside himself. And with good reason. Talk about a Coke high.
Want to hear the episode for yourself? Want to try your hand at making your very own batch of John Pemberton's original recipe 1886 (or thereabouts) Coca-Cola from scratch? You'll find everything you need right here.