The Coca-Cola Recipe May Have Leaked Out; So What's Merchandise 7X?
Public radio show "This American Life" has sent Coke fiends into a tizzy by announcing that it has uncovered the cola's top-secret ingredient, "Merchandise 7X."
Merchandise 7X may not sound terribly appetizing, but it's long been known to be the secret ingredient. What we didn't know was what exactly Merchandise 7X is.
But "TAL" producers claim they found a smoking gun -- and they shared it on the Feb. 13 episode "Original Recipe."
According to "TAL," in 1979 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution published a little-noticed article on the history of Coca-Cola and -- this is the important part -- included a photograph. That photo allegedly showed a handwritten copy of the Coca-Cola recipe invented by John Pemberton -- including the exact contents of Merchandise 7X, "the cartoonishly super-secret, cloak-and-dagger name" of the key ingredient, host Ira Glass said.
The recipe was apparently written down in a Pemberton friend's journal of remedies and ointments, which makes sense since Coca-Cola was originally sold as a tonic.
"TAL" staffers were apparently the first to examine the photo closely enough to realize what it actually showed. Here's the recipe, according to the program:
Fluid extract of Coca: 3 drams USP
Citric acid: 3 oz.
Caffeine: 1 oz.
Sugar: 30 (unclear quantity)
Water: 2.5 gallons
Lime juice: 2 pints, 1 quart
Vanilla: 1 oz.
Caramel: 1.5 oz. or more for color
The secret 7X flavor (use 2 oz. of flavor to 5 gallons syrup):
Alcohol: 8 oz.
Orange oil: 20 drops
Lemon oil: 30 drops
Nutmeg oil: 10 drops
Coriander: 5 drops
Neroli: 10 drops
Cinnamon: 10 drops
"TAL" whipped up the recipe. The first batch had a "medicinal" taste, which led the "TAL" team to realize that perhaps today's essential oils are stronger than the ones used in the past. They tried again, with weakened ingredients, and got closer, even fooling one expert in a blind taste test. But a Coca-Cola company historian says he doesn't think it's the right formulation.
So if you decide to try it yourself, give the episode a listen to pick up tips to tweak the original recipe. For now, Surge Desk will probably stick with the canned product.
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