Soft Drinks

How To Make Your Own Cola

cola recipe

Ever wondered how to brew your own Coca-Cola clone?

We’re not talking about the secret recipe here — but a recipe from a place who made some open-source cola. Called “OpenCola” the recipe was part of a promotion to explain open source software.

Here’s an excerpt for making the cola syrup:

  1. Water: good old tap water will do, if you trust your tap. I used spring water.
  2. 75% Phosphoric Acid: Due to its acidity, this product is corrosive to the eyes and skin. Handle with gloved hands, and use extreme caution. If comes in contact with the eyes or skin, immediately flush with plenty of water for at least 15 minutes. Get medical attention. Rinse any spills on clothing or other surfaces thoroughly. Store in a secure area. Do not store more than 50.0 ml. Try finding phosphoric acid at a compounding pharmacy in your area. There are pharmacies that still mix their own individual compounds and still stock phosphoric acid.
  3. Citric acid: Very easy to find. I found mine at a Shoppers Drug Mart (Rougier Pharma Inc, Quebec, Canada J7J 1P3). Says right on the label, “For the preparation of acidulous drinks and effervescing draughts, and preservation of jams and jellies.” According to the Coke history book, citric acid was used first in the formula, but they now use the phosphoric.
  4. Sugar: Basic granulated white table sugar found everywhere. Buy from a bulk store to save some money.
  5. Caffeine: It’s best not to store caffeine in any amount. Caffeine can kill people in relatively small doses. The median lethal dose for an adult human is around 10 grams, or approximately one third of an ounce.
  6. Flavor: You’ll have to use cola extract or try Capella Flavor Drops.

Now Mix the syrup with carbonated water.

Use a Soda Stream or a soda syphon to inject carbon dioxide into some water and then put it all together.

The full recipe is on Wikimedia here (PDF).

Hard to believe that a drink made of sugar, acid, flavor and caffeine is arguably the most popular beverage in the world.


Written by James Foster, last updated on January 9, 2021