We know of Coca Cola as the jolly, refreshing, homely drink that your aunt always has when you go over to her place. You’ve had it, I’ve had it and everyone you know in your life time has probably had it too. But what if I told you it was invented originally with a far more different purpose than celebration. What if I told you it was originally invented to cure addiction. To cure morphine addiction more specifically. The story behind the invention of Coca-Cola’s first ever recipe and drink is rather unexpected and interesting, perhaps even slightly grim. John Pemberton, an American pharmacist happens to be the inventor of the Coca-Cola drink as we know it, although the reason why he invented it was a little off than just creating a refreshing drink for evenings with friends.

This is the story behind the invention of one of the most popular soda drinks in the world.

The inventor of Coca Cola was a lieutenant colonel of the Confederate Army, John Pemberton. Also a pharmacist, John Pemberton suffered a slash from a sabre while serving with the Confederates back in April of 1865, and like most other injured soldiers he soon became addicted to morphine – an opiate that helped numb the pain. Pemberton’s addiction grew and he resolved to come up with a cure for the dependence, a cure that today we are all very familiar with.


Before it was Coca Cola, it was coca wine.

Pemberton’s solution to his raging addiction was a beverage he formulated, the first of the prototypes called Dr Tuggle’s Compound Syrup of Globe Flower. Soon he started experimenting with coca and coca wines creating a beverage containing kola nut and damiana, which he called Pemberton’s French Wine Coca, as a substitute to morphine for pain relief.


The invention of Coca Cola as we know it today was in fact an accident.

By 1886,  Atlanta and Fulton County enacted temperance legislation, which outlawed consumption of alcoholic beverages. Naturally, this forced Pemberton to produce a non-alcoholic alternative to his French Wine Coca. Pemberton worked on a set of recipes by trial and error, and ended up blending the base syrup with carbonated water by accident, which he decided to sell as a fountain drink rather than a medicine.


Frank Mason Robinson came up with the name “Coca-Cola,” and the Coca Cola company stated  that the name was “meaningless but fanciful,” when a controversy over the drink’s cocaine content popped up. Pemberton, however, did make claims of many healthy benefits to the drink, coining it as “delicious, refreshing, pure joy, exhilarating”, and “invigorating”.

Why did you think that recipe’s so secretive?

Masthead Source: vankannelsignrestoration.com, Feature Image Source: lifehacker.com.au