Cola, a carbonated soft drink traditionally flavored by the kola nut became popular across the globe when pharmacist John Pemberton invented Coca-Cola on 1886. The majority of colas are now artificially flavored rather than using the kola nut. The main ingredients are usually caramel color, caffeine and high fructose corn syrup. The common claim that Coca-Cola used to contain cocaine is actually partially true. The original recipe contained both coca leaves and kola nuts, but exactly how much cocaine was present is undetermined. It is not likely to have been more than a tiny trace amount. The beverage has been completely cocaine free since 1929.
The primary ingredients of all cola drinks are sugar, citrus oils, tamarind, cinnamon, vanilla and acidic flavorant. However, different manufacturers do also add trace amounts of a number of different ingredients in order to create a slight difference in taste which will be distinctive to their particular brand. The majority of manufacturers keep their particular cola recipes as closely guarded secrets. Recipes can also differ depending on location. For example, in North America and Canada the main sweetener used in cola is high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), but in Europe it is typically sugar which is used to sweeten the soda.
There are a number of different cola brands sold around the globe, the most dominant being Coca-Cola and Pepsi. In North America the most popular brands include Royal Crown also known as RC Cola which is widely available in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Red Bull Cola has also been increasing in popularity in the USA since its launch in 2008. There are also many other brands each with their own unique selling point, flavors and recipes. Jolt Cola for example, is part energy drink, containing double the caffeine of a regular soda. Some are available across North America while others have a more regional appeal.
One such regional brand is Big Cola, made by a Peruvian manufacturer and sold in the most Northern areas of Mexico. Another is Johnnie Ryan, a regional brand bottled in Niagra Falls, New York which is made with 100 percent cane sugar. Faygo is a brand distributed across the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and Central Southern regions of the United States. Cuba also has two local brands of cola called tuKola, which is produced and marketed by Cerveceria Bucanero and Tropicola, both of which are also exported to Italy.
The Best selling brand of Cola in the United States is Coca-Cola, with Diet Coke in second place. Pepsi Cola and Diet Pepsi take the third and fourth positions respectively. The constant jostling between the two most well known soft drink manufacturers for the top spot in the rankings has been dubbed the Cola Wars. Coca-Cola and Pepsi have a long history of competing against each other with similarly targeted advertising campaigns. In the 70's and 80's Pepsi marketed themselves as "The Choice of a New Generation" and showed celebrities choosing Pepsi over rival Coca-Cola. They also began blind taste tests called the Pepsi Challenge and even had a concord painted blue with Pepsi written in white! These days Pepsi are trailing in third place behind Coca-Cola and Diet Coke.