One-hundred twenty-seven years ago a pharmacist in Georgia stumbled upon a magic elixir that was described as “A cure for what ails you”. John Pemberton claimed his potion cured headache, dyspepsia, neurasthenia, impotence, even morphine addiction.
It was originally a coca wine called “Pemberton’s French Wine Coca”, and it was sold for five cents a glass at soda fountains. The original formula contained cocaine as an ingredient, and today, Coca-Cola is as much a part of the universe as the space station, global warming and the Hostess Twinkie.
But Coke’s fame and success over the past century has not come without a price.
Cocaine was dropped as an ingredient and we all remember the “New Coke” experiment. My own fondness for Coca-Cola cost me my job about ten years ago. I was working for a Pepsi distributor at the time and I got fired for testing positive for Coke.
Coke’s troubles have not stopped there.
More than one-third of adults in the U.S. are obese. Seventeen percent of children in this country are obese and studies show that soda affects the genes that control our weight. So Coke is going on the attack, running ads that claim Americans consume as many calories from alcohol as they do from sugar-laden carbonated beverages. This to me has finally settled the cloud over the link between sweetened soft drinks and obesity. The issue in my mind has been settled, I’m satisfied.
So when Coke, with its rich tradition of trotting out Coke Classic, Diet Coke, Tab, Coca-Cola Zero, Diet Coke Caffeine-Free and my favorite, Cherry Coke, the company has weathered another storm.
So make a pitcher of Cuba Libras and let’s celebrate with a classic Coke recipe.
1 ¾ Cup Sugar
2 ½ Cups Flour
1 Stick Butter
½ Cup Vegetable Oil
1 Tsp. Baking Soda
3 Tbs. Dutch Cocoa
½ Cup Buttermilk
1 Tsp. Vanilla
½ Cup Coke Classic
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients except the Coke and whisk. Add the Coke and blend until batter is smooth. At this point you may add walnuts, dried cherries, a shot of Kahlua, anything you fancy. Pour in to a greased baking dish and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes clean. Cool and top with a brownie frosting of your choice.
It’s the pause that refreshes, so have a Coke and a smile everybody.