Unhinged Original Versions of Popular Soft Drinks

When you think about it, it’s weird enough that the default soft drink of modern society is just sugar water with optional bubbles, but the origins of these drinks are even more unsettling. Of course, everyone knows that there was a time when everybody was all hopped up on the cocaine in Coca-Cola, but people rarely mention that…

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Fanta Was Nazi Coke

The go-to beverage for strutting on the beach in colorful club wear and singing jingles was born from trade embargos on Nazi Germany. Unable to produce Coke without supplies from the U.S., Coca-Cola Germany created Fanta, which wasn’t fruit-flavored until it was relaunched in 1955. Back in the ‘40s, it was made from industrial byproducts due to wartime rationing, specifically apple shavings, whey and beet sugar. Fanta saved Coca-Cola Germany, but mostly because people cooked with it as a sugar substitute. Few people drank it straight, as the carbonated apple milk tasted exactly like Nazi Germany.

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Crush Had Pulp In It

Today’s orange soda bears little resemblance to anything not grown in a lab, and honestly, you’d probably be a little freaked out if it did. Like, who wants chunks of fruit in their Crush? Early 20th-century consumers, apparently. The drink’s original formulation included pulp to give ”the impression that each sip was akin to savoring a freshly squeezed orange.” Note that there were no such things in the recipe — they had to crush a bunch of oranges and then intentionally add only the grossest parts. They did away with the pulp in 1930, when the public embraced its desire for the most artificial flavors imaginable.

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3
Hawaiian Punch Was an Ice-Cream Topping

We all know when we drink soft drinks, we’re just drinking syrup and water, but we try not to think about it. The innovators of Hawaiian Punch had no such hang-ups, though. The drink was originally an ice-cream topping made by Pacific Citrus Products until customers started mixing it with water and drinking it. That was like going down to Cold Stone, getting a little cup of caramel and slugging it back with a La Croix. Unhinged behavior.

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Pepsi’s Name Has Never Made Sense

You probably thought the name “Pepsi” had something to do with the “pep” the caffeine gives you, but it actually comes from the Greek word for “digestion,” which is something the drink was supposed to help with but, as anyone who’s ever chugged one knows, largely does the opposite. It could be weirder: It was originally known as Brad’s Drink, despite its creator not being named Brad. His name was Caleb Bradham, but for some reason, he apparently decided against Caleb’s Drink. We don’t know. You figure it out.

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7 Up Was a Mood Stabilizer

When it was introduced in 1929, 7 Up was known as Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda because it contained lithium, a mood stabilizer often prescribed to treat bipolar disorder (and, of course, because it was lemon-lime flavored). Sodas were thought of as medicine back then (see Pepsi’s misguided digestive ambitions and, yes, cocaine, which was also thought of as medicine because it was just a cooler time), so this wasn’t at all unusual. The drink’s name and formula were only changed in 1948 when the FDA outlawed the use of lithium in soda because they are famously no fun.