Mariani wine, the ancestor of Coca Cola that few people know

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Carlos Laforet Coll
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Few people know that there is a French ancestor of Coca Cola, it is the Mariani wine created in Corsica by mixing wine and Coca leaves

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Coca-Cola is one of the most famous drinks in the world and since its creation at the end of the XNUMXth century, the escalation of its success is known to all. But you probably don't know that this famous drink has a French ancestry. This is the Vin Mariani, a "tonic wine" which among its main ingredients had Coca leaves.





The inventor of Coca-Cola seems to have drawn inspiration from a drink with beneficial virtues called Vin Mariani which, conceived by the pharmaceutical chemist Angelo Mariani in 1838 in Bastia (Corsica), is obtained by mixing wine and Coca leaves imported from Peru.

Initially the formula used Corsican white wine but then Mariani, who in the meantime moved to Paris, replaced it with Bordeaux wine. Instead, he grew Coca leaves himself in a greenhouse at 10-12 rue Chartres - Neuilly-sur-Seine.

© vin mariani

Thus in 1868 the Coca Mariani company was born, which produced the Mariani Vin Tonic. Known as natural cure for fatigue, flu and even impotence, Mariani wine at the time became very popular to the point that restaurants began to offer it to customers and illustrious personalities, including Alexander Dumas, Emile Zola, Thomas Edison, the Lumières brothers, Jules Verne, several kings and queens as well as Presidents , they appreciated it publicly.

Even some popes, Leo XIII, Benedict XV and Pius X, were so enthusiastic that they awarded the drink with 3 special gold medals.

As stated on the Vin Mariani website, the product was marketed as digestive, appetizer and general panacea. The delicious blend promised to cure just about anything ailing you and provide the energy needed by actresses, inventors and workers. The adequate "dose" was 2-3 glasses a day, to be taken before or after main meals.

© vin mariani

© vin mariani

Mariani wine was exported all over the world, in particular to the United States and here the recipe arrived in the hands of an American pharmacist, John Pemberton, famous for inventing the Coca-Cola formula.



The original recipe of Mariani wine was the following:

  • 60 grams of coca leaves from Peru
  • a liter of Bordeaux red wine

The leaves were left to macerate in wine for 10 hours.



Pemberton was inspired by Mariani wine when, following the decision of the mayor of Atlanta (Georgia), to ban alcohol from his city, he invented a non-alcoholic recipe for "French coca wine". This always includes Coke, with the addition of sparkling water, cola syrup and other ingredients.

We are in 1886, the year in which Coca-cola was born.

Sources: Vin Mariani / Corsica Oggi

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