How to Make Homemade Cola – A Healthier and Tastier Alternative

Cola, or soda, might probably be one of the most controversial drinks out there. Why? While many die-hard cola enthusiasts agree that the cool, fuzzy feeling that drinking cola can give you is the best in the world, cola can have a lot of health-related issues that’s been discussed a lot over the years, especially with a popular global company leading the pack in the production of cola.

While mass-produced cola can inherently be dangerous when consumed a lot, did you know that you can make your cola at home? By making your cola, you’ll still be able to enjoy this delicious, fizzy drink way healthier than the commercial ones by putting your cola twist and giving yourself the healthier cola option that you deserve.

What Is Cola?

Cola originated from the United States almost 135 years ago and is a carbonated soft drink flavored with vanilla, cinnamon, citrus oils, and other flavorings. They also contain the extracts of kola nut, the seeds of the African Cola tree, which contains caffeine.

The fame of cola started when pharmacist John Pemberton invented Coca-Cola which is also one of the first sodas to have kola extracts. While the original recipe for Coca-Cola originally included cocaine, it was eventually removed and replaced with more caffeine in the early 1900s.

Cola is composed of a variety of sweeteners depending on the market of its production. HFCS or high fructose corn syrup is usually used in the United States and Canada while Europe uses sugar to sweeten cola.

The popularity of Coca-Cola has birthed a variety of other cola brands, while Coca-Cola still maintains its popularity up to this day.

How to Make Homemade Coca Cola

Rightfully so, Coca-Cola’s recipe for its Coca-Cola syrup is a closely guarded trade secret. Coca-Cola has retained its sales and popularity for over a hundred years, but who says we can’t attempt to make our version of a homemade cola recipe?

It’s time to topple down the multinational beverage corporation. Here’s how to make homemade coca-cola, and create your version of this delicious, fizzy drink.

For our homemade cola syrup, we need to prepare the following ingredients:

  • 1-quart water
  • Finely grated zest and juice of one lemon
  • Finely grated zest and juice of one lime
  • Finely grated zest and juice of two oranges
  • 3 large, 5 inches, cinnamon sticks broken into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons of dried bitter orange peel
  • 2 teaspoons of coriander seed
  • ¼ teaspoon finely grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon gum arabic (optional)
  • 2 pounds sugar
  • ¼ cup browning sauce
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

First things first, our homemade cola recipe begins with making a homemade cola syrup.

In a large saucepan, we need to mix water, lemon zest, lime zest, orange zest, cinnamon, bitter orange peel, coriander seed, nutmeg, and gum arabic. Whisk them together until the gum arabic dissolves (if used) and stir in the sugar in the mixture. After bringing to a boil, let the sugar dissolve and boil for another minute.

Remove the mixture from the heat and mix in the lemon, lime, and orange juice, together with the browning sauce and vanilla while stirring. Strain the mixture after cooling. You can keep this mixture in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Mixing With Seltzer

You can mix this homemade cola syrup with seltzer too! Just pour ½ cup of cola syrup into a tall glass with ½ cup of seltzer and stir them until combined. For best taste, add some ice cubes and you’re good to go.

Carbonating With Siphon

Yes, you can carbonate your cola using a siphon! Just grab a 1-quart siphon and combine three ¼ cups of water with ¾ cup of homemade cola syrup. Then, charge with carbon dioxide according to the manufacturer’s directions.

You can store charged sodas in the siphon on a fridge for at most five days, and you can get the desired amount as you want into tall glasses with ice.

Brewing

You can brew your homemade cola by following these instructions to yield 5 quarts of cola.

Grab 4 quarts of lukewarm water (atleast 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit), 1 batch of homemade cola syrup and ⅛ teaspoon of champagne yeast or Saccharomyces bayanus.

Mix four quarts of water and your homemade cola syrup in a large container and test is the temperature is around 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature is under or over this desired temperature, let it sit until it cools down or let it warm over very low heat until it reaches desired warmness. Afterwards, add the yeast and stir until completely dissolved in the mixture.

Grab sanitized plastic bottles and place the mixture into them using sanitized kitchen funnel. Remember to leave at least 1 and ¼ inches of air space on top of the bottles before sealing them.

You can store these for two to four days at room temperature. You can tell when the soda is fully carbonated when the bottles feel hard as rocks.

You need to refrigerate them for one week before serving and finish them within three weeks to avoid over carbonation.

Drinks You Can Make With Homemade Cola

Kentucky Cola

To make a Kentucky cola, pour two tablespoons of Jack Daniels over ice cubes in a tall glass and fill it with cola.

Mind Bender

To make a Mind Bender, again, pour two tablespoons of dark rum this time and another two tablespoons of golden tequila over ice cubes in a tall glass and fill with cola.

Cherry Cola

To make the delicious cherry cola, pour two tablespoons of cherry liqueur and two tablespoons of light rum on a rocks glass filled with ice and fill with cola. Top with cherry to finish that cherry cola mix.

Craft Cola Recipe

A Japanese craft cola producer called Iyoshi makes a batch of craft colas by hand and packages it in cute bags for its customers.

All you need is a knife, a chopping board, a pot and stovetop, and the following ingredients to make 500ml of his recipe of cola syrup:

  • 400ml water
  • 400g sugar
  • 3g whole cardamon
  • 4g cloves
  • Three sticks of cinnamon
  • Half a bean of vanilla
  • Two unwaxed lemons

Prepare the spices like the cinnamon by folding the stick in half and taking the seeds out of the cardamom and vanilla beans (remember not to discard the skin of vanilla beans for later!).

Then, slice and juice the lemons and place all ingredients (except lemon juice) into a pot and simmer for ten minutes or until the texture becomes syrupy.

When the texture has become syrupy, turn the heat off and add the lemons and lemon juice and let it sit overnight.

You will notice that the texture has become darker and more aromatic than the day before. Afterward, strain the mixture, and lo and behold, your craft cola mixture is complete!

This homemade cola recipe can be stored for up to two weeks in the refrigerator or four weeks in the freezer.

For best results, you can mix this cola syrup with carbonated water, served with a slice of lemon and a sprig of mint.

You can also use this syrup as a yogurt topping! The yogurt becomes a delicious snack the brings out the lemon and spices of the cola syrup mixture.