When cocaine and alcohol meet inside a person, they create a third unique drug called cocaethylene. Cocaethylene works like cocaine, but with more euphoria.

So in 1863, when Parisian chemist Angelo Mariani combined coca and wine and started selling it, a butterfly did flap its wings. His Vin Marian became extremely popular. Jules Verne, Alexander Dumas, and Arthur Conan Doyle were among literary figures said to have used it, and the chief rabbi of France said, “Praise be to Mariani’s wine!”

Pope Leo XIII reportedly carried a flask of it regularly and gave Mariani a medal.

Thereafter, some guy called John Stith Pemberton decided to make his own version of the Mariani wine and called it French Wine Coca. His Coca, however, became illegal, not because of the cocaine, but because of the alcohol. In Georgia a prohibition law was passed. 

Pemberton took the wine out and replaced it with sugar syrup and in 1886, Coca-Cola was born. From 1886 to 1899, for thirteen years, Coca-Cola was very popular among “intellectual” white males. In 1899, Pemberton started selling Coca-Cola in glass bottles which made it accessible to a bigger market. 

Remember, there was still cocaine inside it, just sugar syrup instead of wine. So why did they take cocaine away?

Middle-class whites worried that soft drinks were contributing to what they saw as exploding cocaine use among African-Americans. Southern newspapers reported that “negro cocaine fiends” were raping white women, the police powerless to stop them. By 1903, [then-manager of Coca-Cola Asa Griggs] Candler had bowed to white fears (and a wave of anti-narcotics legislation), removing the cocaine and adding more sugar and caffeine.