Coca-Cola (often referred to simply as Coke) is a carbonated soft drink produced by The Coca-Cola Company in Atlanta, Georgia. Originally intended as a patent medicine, it was invented this date in 1886 by John Pemberton. The drink’s name refers to two of its original ingredients, which were kola nuts (a source of caffeine) and coca leaves.
A Confederate Colonel who was wounded in the American Civil War and became addicted to morphine, Pemberton began a quest to find a substitute for the problematic drug. The prototype Coca-Cola recipe was formulated at Pemberton’s Eagle Drug and Chemical House, a drugstore in Columbus, Georgia, originally as a coca wine. He may have been inspired by the formidable success of Vin Mariani, a French coca wine. It is also worth noting that a Spanish drink called Kola Coca was presented at a contest in Philadelphia in 1885, a year before the official birth of Coca-Cola. The patent for this Spanish drink was bought by Coca-Cola in 1953.
In 1885, Pemberton registered his French Wine Coca nerve tonic. In 1886, when Atlanta and Fulton County passed prohibition legislation, Pemberton responded by developing a nonalcoholic version. Coca Cola’s first sales were at Jacob’s Pharmacy in Atlanta, Georgia. It was initially sold as a patent medicine for five cents a glass at soda fountains, which were popular at the time due to the belief that carbonated water was good for the health. Pemberton claimed Coca-Cola cured many diseases, including morphine addiction, indigestion, nerve disorders, headaches, and impotence.
Coca-Cola was bought out by businessman Asa Griggs Candler, whose marketing tactics led Coke to its dominance of the world soft-drink market throughout the 20th Century. The current formula of Coca-Cola remains a trade secret, although a variety of reported recipes and experimental recreations have been published. (from Wikipedia)