A public radio program, THIS AMERICAN LIFE, has revealed what it claims is the secret flavoring formula in Coca Cola by studying a rare photograph by Coke inventor John Pemberton. According to this claimed secret recipe is alcohol, along with drops of nutmeg, orange oil, lemon oil, coriander, neroli. This mysterious formula was named "Merchandise 7X". However, it's not known whether alcohol or other ingredients have been completely removed from the modern version formula of Coca Cola. However, with any combination of caffeine and alcohol, both of which have some physical habit forming or addiction potential, it might be argued that part of the secret to the success of this product at one may lay in including substances that cause physical addiction or habit forming potentials.
Caffeine and alcohol addiction are two of the most stubborn physical addictions to kick. Caffeine withdrawal can lead to headaches, depression, and many other mood disorders. Alcohol withdrawal may also lead to anxiety, the shakes and a few other physical symptoms as well.
Coca Cola also uses a form of cocaine free coca leaf to this day in their products by a company in the U.S. who is the only licensed company in this country to process coca leaves. At one time, the old version of Coca Cola was marketed as a medicine by the original inventor back in 1886, containing a small amount of real cocaine, however changes in the formula to comply with evolving U.S. laws, etc. helped to evolve the recipe that is currently sold by the modern version of the Coca Cola company where cocaine is no longer present.
So the question remains, what's exactly in Coca Cola. Why is it so popular? Is it in the taste, or has Coca Cola groomed an audience to want their product because of some habit forming substances such as caffeine or even alcohol? Is Coca Cola really a fully nonalcoholic beverage or not? Trade secrets often hide many exact ingredients from the public where it's hard to know what you're really getting.