Homemade Soda: Curiosity Cola Recipe

Try this Curiosity Cola recipe; we dare you to go back to your old, carbonated brand.
August 2012
Experience the fizzy excitement of “Homemade Soda,” a cookbook with 200 recipes that bring soda to the home kitchen; it’s perfect for adventurous home cooks, home brewers who want to expand their repertoire, DIYers and parents looking to have more control over their family’s sugar consumption.

Cover Courtesy Storey Publishing

This cola recipe should be in a file folder with the words “Top Secret” stamped across the front. It may have been Coca-Cola’s original formula long ago, before the beloved beverage was compromised by unnatural ingredients. This Curiosity Cola blends a varying collection of natural ingredients including edible essential oils; your taste buds will revel in the complexity of flavors. This Curiosity Cola recipe is excerpted from Homemade Soda (Storey Publishing, 2011) by Andrew Schloss, a comprehensive guide filled with recipes such as Anise Licorice Root Beer and Ginseng Soda. 

Curiosity Cola Recipe

Why anyone other than a rival soda manufacturer would want the secret formula for a product as readily available and affordable as Coca-Cola is beyond me, but if trying to duplicate Coke sounds like a fun challenge, try this recipe. It is my rendition of a formula that has been floating around on the Internet for years. Reputedly it is the secret formula for Coke, but I don’t think so (it sure doesn’t taste like Coke). My efforts have yielded something that most of my friends find delicious. Some find it a bit fruity, others a little too bitter, but most appreciate the balance.

Cola Syrup Recipe
Enough for 5 quarts brewed cola

• 10 grams citric acid
• 1 gram lemon edible essential oil
• 1 gram orange edible essential oil
• 0.5 gram bergamot edible essential oil or neroli edible essential oil
• 0.5  gram cinnamon edible essential oil
• 0.5 gram lime edible essential oil
• 0.2 gram coriander edible essential oil
• 0.1 gram nutmeg edible essential oil
• 0.5  gram gum arabic
• 1 quart boiling water
• 2 pounds sugar
• 1/4 cup (72 g) browning sauce, such as Kitchen Bouquet
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Combine the citric acid, lemon oil, orange oil, bergamot oil, cinnamon oil, lime oil, coriander oil, nutmeg oil, and gum arabic in a large heat-proof bowl, and stir to blend. Add the boiling water and mix well with a small whisk. Add the sugar, whisking until it dissolves. Stir in the browning sauce and vanilla and let cool.

2. This Cola Syrup will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.

Notes and Warnings: You will need a gram scale to measure out the ingredients. One gram of essential oil is equal to about 50 drops.

Not all essential oils are safe for human consumption. Look for essential oils labeled “food-grade” or “edible.”

1 serving

• 1/2 cup cola syrup
• 1 1/2 cups seltzer

1. Pour the syrup into a tall glass. Add the seltzer and stir just until blended. Add ice and serve.

3 servings

• 3 1/4 cups water
• 3/4 cup cola syrup

1. Combine the water and syrup in a 1-quart soda siphon. Charge with CO2 according to the manufacturer’s directions. Siphon-charged sodas can be stored in the siphon in a refrigerator for up to 5 days. Disperse as desired into tall glasses filled with ice, and serve.

5 quarts

• 4 quarts lukewarm (80 to 90 degrees) water
• 1 batch cola syrup
• 1/8 teaspoon champagne yeast (Saccharomyces bayanus)

1. Combine the water and syrup in a large container. Test the temperature; the mixture should be at a warm room temperature, from 75 to 80 degrees. (If it is too hot, let it sit until it cools a bit. If it is too cold, warm it over low heat.) Add the yeast and stir until it is completely dissolved.

2. Pour the mixture into sanitized plastic bottles using a sanitized kitchen funnel, leaving 1 1/4 inches of air space at the top of each bottle. Seal the bottles. Store for 2 to 4 days at room temperature. When the bottles feel rock hard, the soda is fully carbonated.

3. Refrigerate for at least 1 week before serving; drink within 3 weeks to avoid overcarbonation.

Excerpted from Homemade Soda © Andrew Schloss, photography © Aran Goyoaga used with permission from Storey Publishing. 

Click here for the main article, Homemade Soda: Carbonation Methods, Flavorings and Recipes.