Coca-Cola Secret Recipe Revealed?: 'This American Life' Says It Hid In Plain Sight

It might be one of the most closely guarded secrets in the soft drink industry.

But the cat might be out of the bag.

On "This American Life" this weekend, Ira Glass broadcasted what he believes to be the original recipe to "merchandise 7X," the super secret ingredient in Coca-Cola. One of the world's most closely guarded trade secrets, many myths surround the ingredient, including the idea that only two people at any given time actually know the formula.

Glass claims that "This American Live" found the recipe published in a newspaper in Coke's very own hometown -- on page 2B of the February 18, 1979, Atlanta-Journal Constitution. Apparently, a local columnist had stumbled across it in an old book of recipes, which was handwritten by a pharmacist decades earlier.

While it sounds like a weird place to find such a thing, Coca-Cola was invented by a pharmacist, and was initially sold at pharmacies and soda fountains. The book containing the recipes had been passed down by pharmacists for years.

Apparently, John Pemberton, the inventor of Coke was very close to the original author of the 130-year-old-book, who copied the recipe and recorded it in its pages.

The recipe, from "This American Life" via Time:

The recipe:
Fluid extract of Coca: 3 drams USP,
Citric acid: 3 oz,
Caffeine: 1 oz,
Sugar: 30 (unclear quantity),
Water: 2.5 gal,
Lime juice: 2 pints, 1 quart,
Vanilla: 1 oz,
Caramel: 1.5 oz or more for color

The secret 7X flavor (use 2 oz of flavor to 5 gals syrup):
Alcohol: 8 oz
Orange oil: 20 drops
Lemon oil: 30 drops
Nutmeg oil: 10 drops
Coriander: 5 drops
Neroli: 10 drops
Cinnamon: 10 drops

But is it real? During the "This American Life" segment, one Coke historian says it very well could be, though the soft-drink maker denies it.

For the whole "This American Life" broadcast, visit their site (which has periodically been down), or check out their Facebook page, where it's also embeded.

The recipe itself is read around the 10 minute mark.