I’d like to apologize in advance to anyone who excitedly clicked on this article after seeing “ice” and “coke” in the headline. Unfortunately for all you junkies out there, I’m not writing about any illicit substances. No, I’m discussing something far more important — Coca-Cola.
The Coca-Cola Company is THE great American soft drink company. Coca-Cola’s formula originated in 1886, and has remained relatively unchanged for well over 100 years aside from the removal of the tiny bit of medicinal cocaine that used to be in it. Coke is the standard by which all other soft drinks are judged. In fact, growing up in Coca-Cola’s home city of Atlanta, I remember that “Coke” was synonymous with any and all soft drinks. You weren’t buying a soda, you weren’t buying pop — you were getting a Coke. But I digress.
The famously secret syrup formula was the base that expanded the brand into several different core products, from Diet Coke to Coke Zero to flavored Cokes like vanilla and cherry. Name a more iconic duo than Diet Coke and the American woman. I’ll wait. Furthermore, the reason the core syrup formula hasn’t changed in 100+ years is simple — it’s delicious.
Coca-Cola company sells the pre-made soft drink in cans and bottles, but it also sells the syrup to restaurants and overseas bottlers and distributors who in turn mix it with varying ratios of soda water. This is why some restaurants have better tasting Coca-Cola products than others. Coca-Cola has a recommended water to syrup ratio, but the restaurant makes the final determination.
That said, I’ve never understood people who put ice in their Coke. It’s a crime in my eyes. You want to keep it cold on the go? That’s not worth letting the ice melt and dilute a formula that’s been perfect for well over 100 years, and it’s even worse if the restaurant already had slightly more diluted Coke than usual. At that point, you might as well not be drinking a soft drink at all. All that ice turns a delicious Coke into little more than sugar water; overly watered-down Coke is a travesty.
Another reason putting ice in your Coke is a crime against humanity is that it takes up room that could be filled with more Coke. That’s why most restaurants — especially fast food restaurants — put in ice by default: your 16 ounce Coke turns into 10 ounces, saving them money. Coke is to be savored, even as the phosphoric acid eats away at your enamel. Every last drop needs to be ingested. I get my 79 cents’ worth and fill my Big Q at QuikTrip to the top with Coca-Cola Classic, zero ice. It’s poured cold, and will stay cold for a reasonable period of time. I don’t need ice to fill up all that drinkable space.
It’s time we appropriately shame those who desecrate Coca-Cola with ice. Cheesy marketing gimmicks aside (no, I won’t share a Coke with with anyone, let alone someone who puts it on ice), Coca-Cola became a juggernaut because its core product is excellent, and, no matter how many people whine about how unhealthy sugary soft drinks are, Coca-Cola still churns out $7 billion net income per year.
I’m a Coca-Cola purist, all about “the red, white, and you.”.
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