John Pemberton, the man who invented Coca-Cola
By OUR CORRESPONDENT
Say what you want about drugs and alcohol, but they’ve spurred many people to success. For some historical figures, it was an integral part of their process. Others just happened to get wasted and have a good idea. Either way, being intoxicated helped these people make it into the history books.
Before John Pemberton invented Coca-Cola, he fought in the US Civil War as a Confederate soldier. He developed a morphine habit during the war to cope with his various injuries and struggled with it for the rest of his life. Pemberton used his pharmacological experience to develop a tonic that might cure his addiction.
The result was Pemberton’s French Wine Coca. It was an alcoholic drink that mixed wine with cocaine and kola nuts, primarily based on an earlier Parisian concoction named Vin Mariani.
As was common at the time, Pemberton promoted his drink as a panacea that could cure a wide range of ailments. However, the temperance movement forced him to develop a nonalcoholic version.
Pemberton took out the wine (but kept the cocaine) and created his first batch of Coca-Cola in 1886. He never overcame his morphine addiction, though, and his financial troubles soon forced him to sell his formula.
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