REVIEW: Pepsi 1893 Ginger Cola

Pepsi 1893 Ginger Cola

“Excuse me, Mr. Cashier? Could I speak to your manager? I don’t want to make a scene, but all your cans of soda expired 123 years ago!”

Damn it, Dad. Get off my computer! Who said you could write the first line of my review?

While I lure my dad away with Home Depot coupons and History Channel DVDs, here’s a brief history lesson on Pepsi’s new 1893 soda line: coming in both Original and Ginger, these retro premium colas are based on “Brad’s Drink,” an 1893 Pepsi-Cola predecessor created by Pepsi founder and distinguished Walt Disney lookalike Caleb Bradham.

Like Brad’s Drink, Pepsi 1893’s base recipe contains, amongst other things: carbonated water, real sugar, African kola nut extract, and vaguely named “spices.” Ginger is obviously the lead spice in this variety I tried, so until soda historians uncover the secret formula for “Beckham’s Drink,” fans of Posh will have to settle.

Pepsi 1893 Ginger Cola 2

I poured my classy Pepsi into the classiest glass I own (there are pretty much 1,893 different Pokémon by now, right?) and admired its amber caramel hues before sipping with my pinky out. As with any brown liquid I’ve ever photographed, pictures don’t do it justice. Interpret that as you will.

Original 1893 comes in a black can, while Ginger’s is sleek and copper-colored. If you stack them Voltron-style, you can make a drinkable Duracell battery. I only mention this because Ginger 1893 is exactly the soda I imagine a post-apocalyptic steampunk cyborg would swig for energy before busting fiendish intergalactic prospectors.

This is because even though its carbonation is a bit light (Dad: “you’d be flat too after a century on the shelf!”) this soda has a bite. The ginger taste hits quickly, but don’t expect molasses and liquefied gingersnaps. This spice is fiery, floral, and folk medicine-y.

Pepsi 1893 Ginger Cola 3

The kola cola taste is intriguing: it’s definitely nuttier, earthier, and more “authentic” than run-of-the-mill Pepsi, but it also seems to exist separately from the carbonated sugar water rather than being blended smoothly into it. Coupled with the sweetened water’s granulated sugar flavor, it’s like Nesquik, just with cola instead of chocolate, and a ginger root instead of a stirring spoon.

A tingling burn of caramel and ginger lingers long after each drink, but this warming sensation becomes pleasant and cara-mellow as it spreads into my stomach. Designated drivers of the world, take note: Ginger 1893 might spice up your sober night a little.

As for everyone else, your enjoyment of this cola will depend entirely on your fanaticism for ginger as a spice, because the sizzling ginger here is more fiery and overbearing than Guy Fieri on fajita night.

In short: it’s a much angrier Vernors. To use a reference non-Michiganders will understand: it’s like that Jolly Reindeer soda Coca-Cola brought to Freestyle machines last Christmas, except this time the reindeer kicks you in the throat after each sip.

As for me, the spice is simply too much for my baby tongue. I think I’ll stick to the Original Pepsi 1893 so I can more richly appreciate the kola nut flavor. Should the desire for a sweet ginger soda ever strike me, I can always sadistically dunk a freshly baked gingerbread man into the bubbling brown liquid until the goofy smile melts from his face.

I’ll see you in therapy, Caleb Bradham.

We also reviewed 1893 Original Cola! Click here to read our review.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 can – 150 calories, 0 grams of fat, 55 milligrams of sodium, 40 grams of carbohydrates, 39 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein..)

Purchased Price: $1.69
Size: 12 fl oz can
Purchased at: Meijer
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Warm ‘n’ bubbly in my belly. Cool kola nut nuttiness. Elegant Pokémon chalices. The Continuing Adventures of Duracell Voltron.
Cons: Hot ‘n’ spicy in my throat. Ginger was not applied gingerly. 19th century Nesquik Bunnies. Dad jokes. Guy Fieri’s dinner parties.

71 thoughts to “REVIEW: Pepsi 1893 Ginger Cola”

  1. Hmmm. I wanna try this! Sounds the same as what they did already a few years back when they brought back Original Coke a Cola, which to this day I prefer to regular Coke. Less sweet, using sugar, and less carbonation. Same tweakage, though I’m a solid Coke guy through and through. I’ve always enjoyed drinking my Coke and Pepsi outta glass instead of plastic or the can. For some reason, and I don’t know why, but to me it always tastes better! Wonder if anyone else feels the same as. To me, when you say ‘original’ Coke, I think of it being made with cocaine, which is actually what they put in it in the early days! Guess I’m probably not gonna be getting any of that any time soon! Honestly, these days, to me, the best version of Coke is the Mexican Coke! It’s killer! Little expensive, but worth it IMO. Using the cane sugar and less carbonated, it’s fantastic!

  2. I don’t usually drink Pepsi or Coke, but I picked this up as a mixer since I like ginger. I had two drinks mixed with Wild Turkey 101 and one mixed with spiced rum. I enjoyed the heck out of it. It’s on sale for a buck at my local grocery so I’m going out to buy more later today. Yumm!

  3. I like both Flavors, but Love the Ginger the best. I love that it’s a strong kola taste in both versions, but I LOVE the Strong Ginger Flavor. There are not enough things, that really use enough Ginger. And Ginger is good for you besides. So glad to have this flashback Recipe.

    1. I tasted this beverage for the first time at work. I initially turned down a friend’s offer to taste it. I’m so glad that I changed my mind. I love the Pepsi with ginget. Where has it been all my life?

  4. 1893 Ginger Cola……in terms of cola drinks….ABSOLUTELY NOTHING beats this!
    I love it! Sure do hope that it stays around. I will be picking up more. They have a pack of it at Sam’s Club!

  5. Pepsi with ginger… Thought it would be clear but i was mistaken reminded me of biting into a full clove during an Asian meal would not recommend.

  6. Your grammar is all fucked up. If you use a colon, you need to make the next following full sentence capitalized with the first letter of the first word. What are you, some kind of amateur?

  7. This is the best new drink with ginger since Reed’s Jamaican Ginger Brew hit the scene in 1987. His research on original soda was from books in the 1780’s so he has Pepsi beat by over 100 years. Still, love Reed’s but combining strong ginger and kola nut flavors was inspired Pepsi. Give it a try if you love ginger like I do!

  8. I thought it was pretty good stuff. Still discernable as Pepsi (of the “Throwback”/real sugar vein), but with a kick that reminded me very much (and very favorably) of ginger Altoids.

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