The greatest trade secret of all time — the secret recipe for Coca-Cola — has been revealed, according to This American Life and The Daily Mail. In fact, the secret behind Coke’s proprietary mixture of sugar, water, caramel color and more sugar, may have actually been exposed 32 years ago, in an article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
According to reports, the 1979 article not only lists the obvious ingredients used in Coke, such as sugar, citric acid and caffeine, but also breaks down the mysterious “7X,” Coke’s most closely guarded secret.
A crucial part of the formula was also given the name ‘7X’ to add to the mystique.
[Early Coke President Asa] Candler even used to go through company mail himself and remove invoices for ingredients so no one in the accounts department could sell the recipe to a rival.
‘The company has always said, and as far as I know it’s true, that at any given time only two people know how to mix the 7X flavouring ingredient,’ said [historian Mark] Pendergrast.
‘Those two people never travel on the same plane in case it crashes; it’s this carefully passed-on secret ritual and the formula is kept in a bank vault.’
So, what’s in 7X? Not cocaine, of course. According to reports, it’s a mixture of alcohol, oils from oranges, lemons and nutmeg, coriander, cinnamon, and neroli, a plant oil similar to bergamot.
Could you use this recipe to make your own Coke? Maybe, though Pendergast thinks this may be “a version” of the formula, and it could have changed since 1979. That seems likely, given that this one doesn’t include high-fructose corn syrup. Then again, maybe this could be the blueprint for a real classic cola, brewed up by some daring beverage entrepreneur.