ARTICLES

COOL SECRETS

RABBI AUBREY HERSH

May 2, 2017

The essence of coke.


I’m not sure how many of you know that Coca Cola teamed up with the CIA last month (June ’06). Honestly, it’s true. Admittedly the CIA in question is the Culinary Institute of America. They are designing unusual flavours (well flavors probably), one of which is the Coca-Cola Hot Tamale, a blend of Coke, Worcestershire sauce, fresh lime and black pepper. How…uhmm… appealing.
 
Coke flavouring does actually have a real Jewish interest. In 1935, Rabbi Tuvia Geffen - an orthodox rabbi in Atlanta, Georgia (Coke’s H.Q.) - contacted the company to ask for a list of ingredients to find out whether Coke was in fact kosher. Coke made a corporate decision to allow him access to their secret formula provided he kept it secret, although they didn’t actually give him the exact proportions of each ingredient, just a comprehensive list of contents by name.
 
Given that one of them was glycerine made from non-kosher beef, the company laboratory adapted their formula to produce glycerine from cottonseed and coconut oil, without affecting the taste (which means that anyone who tells you that coke’s formula has been unchanged since 1886… well, the truth is out there). Another issue arose over the use of alcohol traces (which would be a problem over Pesach), which was also adapted. Rabbi Geffen was the certifying Rabbi - and one of the very few outsiders to know the formula - until his death in 1970, after which the certification was taken over by a larger kashrut agency.
 
As all true aficionados know however, the best way to drink Coke, is when it has no fizz left. Oh and by the way, dropping a 2p coin into a glass of Coke will not dissolve it overnight. Sure, Coca-Cola contains acids which will eventually dissolve many things (including your teeth) but so will plenty of other substances such as orange juice.
 
Enjoy. It's the real thing.

TAGS for this article: Kashrut | Kosher