Introduction: Fakola (cola Clone)

Picture of Fakola (cola Clone)

Cola isn't actually kola nut flavored. As far as I can tell, it's mostly vanilla and cinnamon. Here's a formulation I'm currently working on. It uses ingredients found in most grocery stores. No exotic oils or hard-to-get chemicals. It's not quite right yet but it's a decent first pass.

Note: This formulation is caffeine-free. I haven't tried adding caffeine yet. It looks like a 20oz cola contains about 58mg of caffeine. That looks to be equivalent to about 1/4 of an over-the counter caffeine pill. I'm not sure how well it dissolves in water, though.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
  • Water
  • Sugar
  • Vanilla extract
  • Cinnamon extract
  • Orange extract
  • Lemon juice
  • green and red food coloring (optional)

In addition, you'll need a way to add carbonation to the drink. I used my home-made CO2 generator for that.

Other ingredients that might come in handy are:
  • Glycerin - The local pharmacy should have this. A couple drops should help keep the ingredients mixed. The bottle says "for external use only". Go figure.
  • Cream of tartar - Found it in the spice section of the grocery store. Mildly acidic. Can be used instead of lemon juice if you'd prefer a less citric taste.
  • Phosphoric acid. This was the one ingredient I couldn't get in a grocery store or pharmacy. I had to order it online from The Science Company. $20 for 16oz, which will do about 800 bottles of cola. Note: Very corrosive.

Step 2: Formulation

Picture of Formulation

Here's what I came up with on my first try...

Attempt #1
Water - 2 cups
Sugar - 1/4 cup
Cinnamon extract - 1 tsp
Vanilla extract - 1 tsp
Orange extract - 1/2 tsp
Lemon juice - 1 tsp
Red coloring - 8 drops
Green coloring - 4 drops

This came out a bit too sweet. I'd recommend trying less sugar. Might be a bit too vanilla-heavy too.

It's also missing the acidity associated with cola. By the looks of it, sodas typically use phosphoric or citric acid. Maybe more lemon juice would help.

The color's not too bad. Could maybe stand to be a bit darker.

Attempt #2
Water - 2 cups
Sugar - 2 Tbsp (dissolve in 2 Tbsp very hot water)
Vanilla extract - 1/2 tsp
Cinnamon extract - 1/4 tsp
Orange extract - 1/4 tsp
Lemon juice - 1/4 tsp
Cream of tartar - 1/4 tsp
Glycerin - 1/4 tsp
Red coloring - 8 drops
Green coloring - 4 drops
...and to make it a cherry cola, add 1/4 tsp of almond extract

Not as strong as #1. Maybe a bit too thin. Seems closer to the "real" flavor, though.

Attempt #3
Water - 1 3/4 cups
Sugar - 1/4 cup (dissolve in 1/4 cup Tbsp very hot water)
Vanilla extract - 3/4 tsp
Cinnamon extract - 3/4 tsp
Orange extract - 1/4 tsp
85% phosphoric acid - 1/8 tsp
Glycerin - 1/4 tsp
Red coloring - 8 drops
Green coloring - 4 drops

A nice compromise between #1 and #2. The phosphoric acid makes a big difference too.

Step 3: Carbonate

Picture of Carbonate

I used my CO2 generator to pressurize a 20oz bottle containing the mixture to about 40psi, then shook it up to dissolve the CO2. Seems to be a lot harder to get a decent fizz with this compared with plain water. The sugar's probably the culprit there.

Note: Let the bottle sit for a while before opening. Open very slowly and retighten if it starts to foam.

Cap and refrigerate.

As I said, this is a first attempt. I think next time I'll try more lemon and less sugar. I'll post updates if and when I come up with better formulations. I'm trying to stick to ingredients typically found in grocery stores, which limits the possibilities a bit.


Vsassi (author)2016-03-31

Okay, NO-ONE seemed to realize that original Coca-Cola was made by combining a base syrup with soda water, aka carbonated water. I used to work the lunch counter in a drug store and we made the drinks just like they did back in the fifties.
One other thing you might want to consider....stay away from phosphoric acid, as it has been linked to possible cause of fibromyalgia. There is no proof yet, but I firmly believe this because when my mother quit drinking dark Soda pop and went to light soda pop, (because they don't put it in light soda pop), her fibromyalgia completely disappeared.
I really do love all this as I used to absolutely LOVE Coke! This has given me new hope for making my own. Thank you so much, and I am going to be trying this soon! Have a great day! ?

Gamernotnerd (author)2009-08-02

If you didn't add the coloring, would it make it into a Crystal Pepsi clone?

Shaotlinc (author)Gamernotnerd2015-08-16

I would also like to know this...

lucek (author)2013-10-29

I've heard that if you are careful you can quick carbonate such a bottle with dry ice. Just don't add too much or you make a bomb not soda.

rchallender (author)2012-03-20

Thank you for this! I've been pondering making my own cola, and wanted to use phosphoric acid -- since phosphoric acid is good at breaking up kidney stones -- but nowhere else on the web were clear amounts for P.A. Usually it's listed together with citric acid for the amount, and being different acids, I wasn't sure it'd be the same percentage in the soda.

So thank you!

And has food grade phosphoric acid for sale. That's where i got mine.

Lastly, I tried Acid Phosphate -- a different product. And it's only very mildly acid. And you can't even taste it when added to lemonade -- the lemonade is more acidy.

excessive.insurgence (author)2010-12-09

to your caffeine idea... a friend of mine and i found out about the psychoactive effects of caffeine and the different ways to use them (im not advertising that anyone use caffeine as a drug as it can cause serious health risks including heart attack no matter your age) and we found that you can buy bulk powder pure caffeine online just Google it and you'll get a load of supplier websites and its easier to measure the powder so if your still looking to add caffeine its an idea you may want to pursue

zorcy (author)2010-08-26

GREAT JOB! I see you are using lemon juice. Some flavours you may want try. Coke uses lime and celery in their recipe for the states. If you try a really fresh coke from a glass bottle, pour it in 3 cups. Put a slice of lime in one, celery stalk in one and leave the 3rd alone. Taste the lime first, then the celery and lastly, the plane. You will now be able to taste the lime and celery in the coke. That is a nice carbonating device. I make beer at home. This is a nice rig. You can use tire nozzles in the cap, too. Then use CO2 with a tire chuck to fill it up. At room temp, under pressure, roll it around slowly. Get it cold to lock in the CO2, before you release the top.

PKM (author)2007-11-19

Good work! If you're still experimenting with formulas, I would dearly love a recipe for a low-sugar cola that doesn't taste like the wrong end of a dog. You could easily get some generic coffee sweetener to experiment with, and see which tastes best. Also, if there was a happy medium on the fruitiness spectrum between Coke and Dr Pepper, it would be the best thing since sliced bread.

nimitz (author)PKM2007-11-19

What you want is pure cane Sugar Dr. Pepper. It's only sold in one place on the planet but you can order it.

High Fructose Corn Syrup is what has been making sodas taste like crap for years now. AND it adds to the obesity problem in this country.

I invite people to do their own research in case they think I'm a nut...

megmaine (author)nimitz2010-01-18

Or you can put some prune juice in your seltzer and have essentially the same thing! (but your amount of prune juice might be a personal thing to tweak).

ive seen this in united stores and wallmart, and it has my full endoresement

Really?! I'm going to have to check to see if the local Wallmart has it. (I just never go in there on general principle.) Thanks!

Papersatan (author)nimitz2007-11-19

And the addition of corn products to all of our food is helping an increased number of people develop allergies to corn. (Me for instance....) If you live some where with a large enough Jewish population you should be able to get Coke made with sugar during passover. That is when I stock up. Though that is still not as fun as making your own.

nimitz (author)Papersatan2007-11-19

Indeed. Nothing is as sweet as something you've made yourself. :-)

There is also something called OpenCola:

Cane sugar Coke is also available quite often at local Hispanic and other ethnic food stores. I can get it if I go out of my way to a local store in another part of town. I wish the damn stuff were available all year around. It's what Coke is meant to be.

It's also worth noting that many countries have banned the use of HFCS in their foods.

Kiteman (author)nimitz2007-11-19

I have also come across Cube Cola, which seems to be based on OpenCola.

nimitz (author)nimitz2007-11-19

My apologies for assuming US citizenship with the "in this country" thing...

DeadlyDad (author)PKM2007-12-26

If you want to both lower your sugar intake and avoid the health concerns associated with most artificial sweeteners, you might want to try Stevia (read the whole article and the associated links. It's an interesting story of greed & power vs. your health.) I've used it for years, and highly recommend it. You can find it in most larger grocery stores in either the baking section or the pharmacy/dietary aids secion. For this project, the liquid form would probably work best, and it certainly is cheap enough at four drops per glass. :)

megmaine (author)DeadlyDad2010-01-18

Ditto to the Stevia. I buy the powder in bulk at the health food store and it is affordable that way (and those who live in warm climates may consider growing it, though you'd need to grow quite a bit to supply yourself totally).
I haven't gotten around to setting up my own CO2 tank but want to, and in the mean time have used plain seltzer along with stevia and various flavors and acids to make tasty sodas.
The powdered stevia works just fine, though a funnel helps get it into the bottle without making a mess, and you do have to cap and shake it, then let it settle out again before opening.

ItsTheHobbs (author)DeadlyDad2008-12-15

Yeah, that stuffs good.

degroof (author)PKM2007-11-19

Off the top of my head and taking into account that I haven't had a Dr Pepper in ages, I'd guess that the big difference between it and cola would be cherry and almond flavoring. Other possible culprits: ginger, anise and allspice.

vlatro (author)2009-02-12

Phosphoric Acid (and better for soda, Citric Acid) are both available in most grocery stores if you know what to look for. Fist stop is the Canning isle. Should be near canning jars, wax, pickling spices etc. It's often used in making jellies, jams, or any fruit preservation as it stops the sugars from getting a "Musty" taste or discoloring with long term storage. If you don't see it there, also look in the health food isle. Many food grade acids and acid blends are available as sodium-free salt substitutes. Most of these are primarily citric acid with lesser amounts of phosphoric and tartaric acid blended in.

I also notice you're using a yeast based CO2 source. Remember to boil your sugar water (yeast food) and cool before pitching yeast. Yeast eat monosaccharide, white sugar is a disaccharide. Boiling the sugar breaks it down into something the yeast can use and will produce much more CO2 with less sugar, making it cheaper and faster.

Also, consider that while the yeast requires warm temperatures (about 80°) Suspending CO2 in water works best at temperatures just below freezing (30°) and requires constant agitation to inhibit freezing and ensure the maximum absorption of CO2.

Try using an old steel pressure cooker with a steam-off valve for the fermentation. You can boil your sugar solution directly in it, cool it, pitch the yeast and shut the lid. When the pressure reading is between 55-65 psi, connect the hose to your chilled bottle of soon-to-be soda and simply release the valve to inject gas. Agitate the bottle as gas fills it and you're done in about 30 seconds. Depending on the size of the pressure cooker used, you could do several bottles all at once since you have a shut-off valve. You can even speed it up by placing the pot on a heating pad set to a more ideal temperature.

For Citric Acid, try this link:
$15 for a 5lb bag is a good deal. Most brew shops sell 4oz jars for $4-5 each, far too expensive for soda making.

As for adding caffeine, caffeine pills are bad. They will leave an bad taste in the bottle, like sucking on an aspirin. I find light green tea (1 packet per 0.5L) will impart enough caffeine, and the potency of the vanilla and acid almost completely removes any tea flavor. Coffee works too (and is quite good in cola), but green tea will have more caffeine per volume and a lesser impact on the taste.

Recipe: Lemon/Lime (7up, Sprite etc.)

1.75 L spring water
4 Cups white sugar
3 Tbsp Citric Acid

Mix, carbonate and drink.

The difference between most brands is simply the sugar to acid ratio. Sprite has more sugar, 7up has more acid, and for the exact 7up flavor, 2Tbsp of Lime syrup (Roses brand works well). Play with the ratios a bit to find what you like.

megmaine (author)vlatro2010-01-18

All teas of the tea plant Camilla Sinensis have less caffeine than coffee per volume.
Check the USDA Nutrient Database if you aren't sure.
Also, green tea contains less caffeine than black tea.
Don't know where you got the info that green tea has more caffeine than coffee.

megmaine (author)megmaine2010-01-18

Oh, and sorry if I sounded brusque. Thanks for a really neat article on how to do all this!

wingbatwu (author)2007-11-19

I heard coke had decocainized coca in it.

JeremyA (author)wingbatwu2008-05-13

that isnt true. When it first came out it had real cocaine in it. On top of that how would you go about decocanizing cocaine since cocaine is just the disolved plant. It is usually desolved in gasoline.

wingbatwu (author)JeremyA2008-05-14

in the US, Stepan Company is authorized to make a non-narcotic coca leaf extract for Coca Cola... look it up

JeremyA (author)wingbatwu2008-05-15

I retract my statement that it isnt true. I was able to find very little information on the subject except at a blog source. I would be surprised however if the coca processing plant that supplies to "coke" wasn't more of a front for other operations. There would be no reason to go through all of that trouble for a flavor enhancer, and there is no way the government would allow it if it weren't in on it at some other level.

acausal (author)JeremyA2009-11-01

I would suggest doing further research on the topic rather than applying guesswork.  Cocaine is still used as a topical anesthetic in certain rare medical procedures, as I understand.  At one time, at least, it was used for some types of surgery on the brain and head due to the fact that it has some local vasoconstricting action.  Or so I seem to recall, I may be wrong about the exact application.  Dentistry also uses it, or did at one time.  Besides that, a number of pharmaceutical and other chemical compounds are synthesized from cocaine as a starting material.

A simple glance at Wikipedia provides the following two links, to begin with.  It is highly unlikely that either of these two companies are a "front". has some information, as does

Foaly7 (author)2009-09-09

Is this still good without the carbonation?

laci37 (author)2009-02-14

You have so much problems with carbonating. I have bottle for this,that solves all problems :). Before carbonating you can place the bottle in your frigde so the drink will be cold. After that yuo don't need to make your own CO2, it cames in small high pressure tanks.( all grocery stores sell those in Hungary :) Thank God I'm living in Hungary :)

maxpower49 (author)laci372009-09-09

yeha in the us its only sold in welding supply shops but you can get small tanks for paintball

wupme (author)2008-12-07

Just for information, a lot of cola is actually still kola nut flavored. Like that Red Bull Cola or Red Kola. But Coca-Cola is only using artificial kola nut flavor today, Pepsi also i think.

loqk (author)2008-12-07

By the way, I notice a lot of people seem to carbonate warm liquids. It is known that gasses (non polar) dissolve more readily in cold water and salts (polar) dissolve more readily in warm water. So for maximum absorption of CO2, make sure your drink is ice cold before adding CO2

loqk (author)2008-12-07

hmm, I've looked at the CO2 generator post now. it looks good, but a little slow. I'll have to go contemplate the relative costs of components.... Although I'm guessing that a live yeast reactor with only sugar added is cheaper in the long run than the constant addition of bicarb soda and vinegar :-)

loqk (author)2008-12-07

That 2 bottle carbonation system is brilliant :-) I'll have to try it :-) I've been using carefully weighed pellets of dry ice based on the weight of full and empty soda siphon cartridges. I seem to recall when I last did it that a full cartridge weighed 2g more than an empty one and carbonated about 1L of liquid. Dry ice of the same weight can be used for the same volume, however it is dissolved slowly in the liquid so you must shake it for the CO2 to not make the bottle explode... Never use glass bottles to try this. A simple chemical calculation should allow us to determine how much vinegar and baking soda to use to achieve the same volumes of gas :-)

PKTraceur (author)2008-11-15

Glycerine is a very thick, syrupy, and clear liquid.

noahk (author)2008-09-28

instead of food coloring, could caramel color be used? (caramelized sugar or corn syrup)

All Damsel, No Distress (author)2008-09-13

Want a soda with NO corn syrup? Call the Dr. Pepper plant in Dublin, TX. They make pure cane sugar soda, one of the only places left. They do ship. You'll have to do some searching for the number and info. What? You thought I'd do all the work?

smurphmyworld (author)2008-01-05

this is awsome i lobve it how could i add booz to it to have a real drink?

Noodle93 (author)smurphmyworld2008-01-19

Just add a Bourbon type alcohol.

ERNesbitt (author)Noodle932008-01-31

The best recipe is to take a rocks glass, put four ice cubes into it and let it sit while you get out the cola and bourbon (Woodford Reserve is my personal favorite, but Maker's Mark works in a pinch). Pour the cola and the ice into the sink and fill the rocks glass half full with bourbon. Sip, roll the tongue to create a small pool of bourbon on the tongue and inhale slightly to get the full warm flavor of the bourbon. Swallow, repeat, and enjoy.

Oryctolagus habilis (author)2008-06-24

Fantastic idea! On the recipe, I believe commercial colas are predominantly flavored with nutmeg over cinnamon. Also, if you want a "purer" flavor than lemon juice, but don't want to order phosphoric acid, you might try citric acid powder; which is often available at bulk food stores and even some health food stores.

andyhuntdesigns (author)2008-06-16

One of the funniest things I've read in a long time: OpenCola recipe disclaimer

Bartboy (author)2008-04-28

LOL i made the mistake of cinnamon esential oil... 1 tsp is the equivalent of a bottle of tabasco!

SpinWard (author)2007-11-23

Question: Could you drop a small piece of dry ice into it to carbonate it?

NeilLizard (author)SpinWard2008-02-11

Yes, you could

xproplayer (author)NeilLizard2008-03-22

dont add to much or you got a mini 2 liter bomb

NeilLizard (author)xproplayer2008-04-06

Yea, if you add dry ice, then make sure that the cap is off of the bottle.

xproplayer (author)NeilLizard2008-04-06

that wont work because the co2 will just go out the bottle top

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