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.

72 thoughts to “REVIEW: Pepsi 1893 Ginger Cola”

  1. Guess I’ll stick to the Coke Freestyle machines at fast food joints if I want my Ginger mixes with Soda variety. Yes, I’ll have the Orange Fanta with Ginger Ale.

    1. I never experienced Holiday Spice Pepsi, unfortunately. But from what I’ve read, that drink would essentially be the Cinnamon equivalent to this Ginger Cola. Probably better for me since I prefer cinnamon as a raw spice; it tastes less floral in my opinion.

    2. Oh man I miss the Holiday Spice Pepsi, they should’ve made it a seasonal item for every year. That stuff was amazing.

  2. The first gulp sent me back in time quite a few years, simply because it’s been quite awhile since I had any ginger ale and I had forgotten how the gingery carbonation can tickle my nose even when I swallow it normally. I think the cola portion of the drink must have had an extra portion of cola syrup added, just to keep from being overwhelmed by the ginger portion of the drink. Overall, it was definitely interesting but I don’t know if I’ll be buying any more.

  3. I might try this one even though I usually think Pepsi tastes more like diesel fuel than Coca Cola does. Cola (with real sugar, not diet stuff, and with real cola nut extract) is excellent for nausea, however. The ginger Pepsi should be even better for that purpose.

    I am ashamed to say that I recognize the Pokemon and I was not anywhere close to being a child when the series hit US TV. I have the same glasses in Pikachu, Squirtle, and Charmander. And yes, 1,893 species of Pokemon by now sounds about right.

    1. l love ginger beer but i find jamaican ginger beer too sweet. lawd this tastes good love the ginger and not real sweet. keep making it ill keep buying it. real ginger

  4. How does it compare to Pepsico’s Buffalo Rock; or is it our old local favorite just renamed for a wider market. I ask because this sounds like an a perfect review of B.R.

  5. As someone who happily swigs down Reed’s Extra Ginger Brew, this hits the spot pretty well, with just a hint of mellow balance from the cola.

    1. Great ginger COLA loved it hope it’s here to stay the ginger is so refreshing other COLA just as good never saw the holiday Pepsi but will be looking more closely in future for Pepsi products going back to store for more now

  6. I thought it tasted more like drinking pure, clean water, from a dirty ashtray. I am both a Pepsi Cola and a Gingerale lover. However the two mixed together assaulted my taste buds. I could not spit it out fast enough. That being said, it might be a good mixer with Rye. I will never, ever waste my money on this product. Pepsi Company, this was an epic fail!


      1. It’s not meant to be a substitute for Ginger Ale. Have you ever had Reed’s Ginger Beer? More along those lines….

  7. Based on the awesomeness of the Dark and Stormy (ginger beer and dark rum) and the classic rum and coke, I predict that this will be FANTASTIC spiked with some Kraken rum. Will try tonight!

    1. This is something I now want to try with Bundaberg Ginger Beer from Australia, thanks for the idea!

      1. It reminded me of Bundy ginger beer. When I had a can. I hope it stays on the market as it’s easier for this displaced aussie in Michigan to get this thenew good old Bundy.

      2. It reminded me of Bundaburg ginger beer. When I had a can. I hope it stays on the market as it’s easier for this displaced aussie in Michigan to get this then good old Bundy for when I want a ginger fix. I can’t stand Vernors and the ginger ale doesn’t cut it.

  8. how bout we petition to bring back Pepsi Blue. in all honesty that was the most intriguing flavor of them all.

    1. CRYSTAL PEPSI FOR LIFEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

      seriously though, the 1893 pepsi’s are RIDICULOUSLY good, both regular & ginger. I think the hipster gimmicks are silly, but the product is so good it outshines that stuff.

  9. thay say kola nut is good for Migraine Headaches. Ill save a can and see if it helps the next time i have one.:)

  10. RE: Vernors. I live in the Southwest and have been buying it for decades. I am from Michigan so got my first taste there, still no comparison.

  11. Idk if you’ve ever drank i belive it’s called ” not your fathers ginger ale” to me it’s terrible! Way to much ginger. I hope you have tasted it? For obvious reasons, how would you compare the the tastes?

  12. Tried this today. I Loved it.

    Finally, a ginger ale that taste’s like ginger. It should be no surprised that I slice off chunks of ginger root and eat them straight. Most of the ginger ales I’ve had were too weak, some were way WAY too strong.

    This is perfect, and it comes with a nice Kola accent. If this drink actually becomes widely available it will be my new go to soft drink. That said, I’m still waiting for the return of Crystal Pepsi. Never 4get.

    1. Which ones have you tried that were too strong? for me the strongest I’ve had is the blenheim hot ginger ale which was awesome. If you know of any others please let me know so I can try it.

  13. Ginger ale was ruined for me as a child. My Grandmother was sure it was a cure all for any ailments.

    Thus, ginger flavored Pepsi does not sound good.

  14. I was a big fan of the strong ginger flavor, but I’m regularly on the lookout for ever stronger ginger beers and my palette is, understandably, wrecked – I have an incredibly high ginger strength tolerance, even Vernor’s is too light for me these days. The 1893 reminded me of what it must taste like to mix a Mexican Coke with a Cock ‘n Bull – and in other words, I loved it. Having tried the two side-by-side, I actually think I prefer the 1893 Ginger to the Original variety.

  15. On my first sip, I immediately thought, “Oh god, they’ve just mixed ginger ale and Pepsi, that’s a horrible i—” and then I realized that it actually tasted pretty good. Not only that, it tastes different enough from both ginger ale and cola that it becomes something different. Even compared to other mixed ginger ales (like Reed’s cherry and raspberry), the Pepsi flavor does a better job of enhancing that “ginger feeling”, the burn that hit as you swallow instead of at first taste.

    I tried mixing a few different ginger ales with Mexican Coke in different proportions, assuming that would be even better—but it’s not even close. I don’t know what makes 1893 Ginger work so well, but it does. My last experiment, just adding powdered ginger to the Coke, was actually really good, but it was a huge mess, and hard to do without making the Coke flat, and you end up with clumps of wet powder at the bottom (which taste really good—I’m going to have to try making crystallized ginger with Coke instead of sugar-water next time…).

    I’m not sure this is worth the $2.99 for a 355ml can at my corner store, but I assume it’s cheaper at the supermarket, and if so, I may buy it again.

  16. Is it always necessary to add so much sugar to these colas? 40g of sugar is excessive. Artificial sweetners suck but all this sugar…smh

  17. I drank this to wash down some Bacon Pringles, and ended up unleashing a belch so pungent it cleared the room.

    10/10 would commit crimes against humanity again

  18. As I was reading, I was thinking that it sounded like you were describbing a Vernors. Then I got to your refe5. As a former Michigander, I completely understood. ?

  19. Whoever the person is that did this review, knowing have a palate of a infant. There is a little heat to this drink, but not to the point it burns your throat. This is a very refreshing drink that goes well with any meal.

    1. Some of us do have sensitive palates. Not our faults, just how God made us lol. Just because it didn’t bother you doesn’t mean it can’t bother others. My opinion thanks

    2. Come to find out I am allergic to ginger. WHY I HAD THE PROBLEMS. It did burn my throat.

  20. The Ginger is very good…mmmmmm But the black Can stuff is gross, for my fellow new englanders it is like mixing Moxie with Pepsi. I highly recommend the ginger one though, especially with a little Jim Beam : )

  21. Thank you Pepsi! I don’t know how you did it but you did. People won’t think that time travel is possible but the amazing flavor of your Ice cold 1893 Ginger kola took me somewhere I have never been. I want to go there again.

  22. I agree that this soda has a strong ginger taste to it, but I disagree about the strength of the bite. Blennheims Ginger Ale has a strong bite. Stewart’s Ginger Beer has an unbearable amount of bite. This 1893 has little more bite than Vernors, and a bit more pronounced ginger flavor. It’s nowhere near as strong as Blennheims or Stewart’s.

  23. The ginger pepsi is way to hot for me. Took my breath away. Why make soda like this. It triggered a asthma type attack in me. Had to stop drinking it.

  24. I really enjoy the Pepsi Ginger Cola! I ran across it while in the store looking for something different to refresh my thirst. I was totally surprised when I opened the can and took my first sip. I really enjoyed it! I have been looking for it in many stores, but only am able to find it in one. I do wish that I would be able to purchase in a pack instead of individual – it is very refreshing,

  25. Just had my first Ginger Cola. It taste great! I love the taste of the ginger that it has. I am a big fan of the Buffalo Rock. The Rock is much stronger in taste but I like both. Thanks for the Ginger Cola.

  26. Either the can I got was way different from the one reviewed, or else the reviewer is a soft little baby with a baby tongue.

    I found it perhaps a little stronger with ginger than Vernor’s. By comparison, Reed’s is way stronger than this. And Cock-and-Bull is way stronger than Reed’s. And Boots Lucky Ginger Brew is way stronger than Cock-and-Bull. (Cock-and-Bull is about my maximum. I was unwilling to finish a bottle of Boots. It wasn’t fun.)

    Anyhow… To me, the 1893 Ginger Cola was very pleasing, and preferable to the plain 1893 Cola (which itself is not bad).

    1. Why say that to somone who may have real problems drinking it. Some people palates areally more sensitive than others. Insulting them is not right. My opinion.

      1. Agreed. I personally like foods and drinks with strong or spicy flavors. When I was younger, I used to think I was a hot shot because I could handle very intense hot sauces and peppers. That was, until I read a research article about how humans detect “heat” in our foods. It appears that the more a person “feels the burn”; the more receptors for chemicals such as capsicum that person has in their nose, mouth, and throat. So apparently, I wasn’t as tough as I thought; I just had fewer “heat” receptors in my mouth.

  27. Let me first say that I am a ginger beer fan, so I am used to the bite of ginger. Pepsi 1893 Ginger Cola has a taste very similar to ‘Ginger People’ or ‘Bundaberg’, which is my second favorite ginger beer after ‘Barritt’s’ (of course). It’s not too spicy, has a smooth cane sugar blend, plus a cinnamon-like aroma I assume due to the kola nut extract. I subsequently bought a case at my local Tom Thumb.



  29. Having tried both flavors I have to say that I love them both. I probably won’t buy the cola version again unless the price is right and I am able to buy it locally since it is not that much different from other colas that can be bought for much less. The ginger cola however is something that I have never experienced before. If you are not prepared for it, it will bite you hard on your first can. I remember saying that I won’t be buying that stuff again, but I had a 12-pack and by the time I finished it, I was truly enjoying it. I would definitely buy it again because there is not much else like it and is a great change from what I usually drink.

  30. Somone childish person on here called me a little baby because the Ginger was to hot for me and triggered a asthma type attack in me. Come to find out I am allergic to ginger. I am a Ex US ARMY GREEN BERET MEDIC AND NOT A BABY BY NO MEANS.

  31. It has become my favorite cola . I love the ginger in it . It is awesome . I hope it stays in the stores.

  32. 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!

  33. 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!

  34. 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?

  35. 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!

  36. 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.

  37. 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?

  38. 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!

  39. 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.

  40. I love the 1893 Ginger Cola but the can is so flimsy that it’s hard to get it home without a puncture.

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