REVIEW: Pepsi 1893 Original Cola

Pepsi 1893 Original Cola

Ah, good ol’ 1893. What a year.

Who could forget Grover Cleveland’s riveting inauguration speech? The first commemorative postage stamps were displayed at the Chicago World’s Fair. The most beloved Marx Brother, Gummo, entered the world. And it was with a heavy heart that we said goodbye to the 19th President of the United States, Rutherford B. Hayes.

While it could be argued the Supreme Court legally declaring the tomato a vegetable was the single biggest event of 1893, I would counter with the invention of Brad’s Drink. “Who’s Brad, and why should I care about his drink,” you ask? Why “Brad’s Drink” was the original name of one Pepsi Cola.

Now here we sit 123 years later with the release of Pepsi 1893. Brad would be proud.

1893 claims it’s a “bold” spin on an original cola, but I’m not sure “bold” was the best word to use. I was expecting to be hit with something completely foreign, but in reality it wasn’t that much different than what I’m used to.

In order to truly see what the hubbub was about, I picked up a 2016 Pepsi to compare.

Pepsi 1893 Original Cola 3

1893 looks and smells exactly the same, but it’s not as sweet as the current Pepsi formula.

It almost tasted a bit watered down, and like a mixed cocktail. Now I realize not everyone drinks alcohol, but if you’ve ever had a Jack and Coke Pepsi, I swear this tasted like a very weak version of that. It’s as if the bartender filled my glass to the brim with Pepsi, and then dropped a thimble worth of whiskey in. That said, I’m a Jack and Coke guy, so that actually worked for me.

If it interests you, I believe 1893 would make a really strong mixer. A “Jack and 1893” is a hipster drink if I’ve ever heard one.

Pepsi 1893 Original Cola 2

For the non-drinkers (Don’t drink, kids!) think of the “Real Sugar” Pepsi (1893 is made with Fair Trade Certified sugar). Now think about leaving a glass of it with a couple ice cubes on the counter for an hour. Now take a sip. The carbonation level here is not in the ballpark of what you’re used to, and it’s not a bad thing. I try not to drink soda too much these days, so every time I do, I get hit with what I call “bubble burn.” Regular Pepsi was like a shock to my system after drinking 1893.

I assume the slight taste difference is from the aromatic bitters and the natural kola nut extract, but I’m not gonna lie about knowing exactly what those taste like. I’ve never even seen a kola nut. Anyone who takes a sip of this and says “I can definitely taste the natural kola nut extract” is a try hard and you shouldn’t be their friend. Vin is your friend.

Beyond that, 1893’s can style is pretty deceptive looking. I imagine I’m not the only one who thought Pepsi may have gotten into the cola energy drink game. That being said, it’s a cool, sleek, “old school” style, and I dig it.

In the end, it’s just a slightly different Pepsi. If you’re looking for a huge difference, you’re not gonna get it. If someone three-card Monte’d 1893, Real Sugar Pepsi, and regular Pepsi and asked which was the “original” recipe, you’d pick 1893 without flinching, but that’s not a knock. This is a solid spinoff.

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

(Nutrition Facts – 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: $1.29
Size: 12 fl oz. can
Purchased at: Wegmans
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Sleek Retro Can. Not as sweet. Less bubble burn. Cola with a K. No high fructose corn syrup. Wikipedia. Learning about the year 1893. Gummo love. Vin as a friend.
Cons: Not a massive difference. Tastes like a weak cocktail. Rutherford B. Dead. No one’s ever asked for a “Jack and Pepsi.” Tomato is a fruit!

83 thoughts to “REVIEW: Pepsi 1893 Original Cola”

  1. As a devoted Mexican Coke addict, I saw this in the store and had to give it a try. If anyone doubts it is “different” then you should have your taste buds take a break from the caffeine and nicotine for a while. It is delightfully different. No question it tastes more like COLA then anything on the mass market.
    The best part is the lower carbonation level which I feel gives your taste buds more to “taste” than the bubble burn you get from most carbonated sodas.
    If Pepsi wants to give this a serious “go” then it should be offered in dark glass bottles to protect it from going bad.
    Now…bring the cost down so people can stop harassing the “craft” soda moniker.

  2. I bought a can at Walmart the other night after a friend recommended it to me. I drank about half the can. it was ‘alright’. Later when I got home I read the ingredients and learned that if you read down past the phrase “trademarks of PepsiCo Inc” on the side bottom of the can, it says these words in all caps “PARTIALLY PRODUCED WITH GENETIC ENGINEERING”.

    That bothered me. I hope it does you.

  3. Pepsi, Please don’t take 1893 off the market. I have been scouring the stores in the DC area only to find this at a local grocer. I am usually a Coke drinker, but 1893 has converted me. I am stocking up in case it disappears.

  4. Pepsi, Please do not take this off the market! This is good. I absolutely would drink this over Coke or anything else. I have been scouring Walmarts in Virginia looking for this only to find it at a local grocer in PA.

    If anyone is looking for it, Giant Eagle has this stocked in their gas stations.

  5. I absolutely love it. The Black can formula is the best but
    I like them both. A new treat for me on occasion. Have always thought today’s Pepsi to sweet.

  6. It tastes good although NOT BOLD in any way. Doesn’t taste much different than regular Pepsi. I don’t think it’s worth the price or the hype. Save your $.

  7. I bought 2 for for a buck25. Idrank one got sick for a couple hours threw up ? Maybe it was sumthin I ate t thought whatever. I draythe others e a couple days later when I woke up empty stomach same thing sick as f*%k
    I definitely have a thing with kola nut or something in there I don’t know. Like it wasn’t just I drank something to fast it was like I felt like I was nauseous and spinning for 2 hours. I’m gonna stick with this century’s recipe and I don’t really drink sugary carbonated fountain drinks stuff anyway so…… not gonna call it pop or soda for all you diehard ppl not tryin to start another civil war here.

  8. Vin thank you for that info. You were the only person that answered the question i had. All the other sites I went on had no clue. So I just wanted to say thanks and keep up the good job.

  9. Sometimes, when my wife is gone, I will puree my bowel movement in the toilet bowl with a stick-blender from the kitchen, add some urine, ladle it out of the porcelain perch into a frosty mug and chug it down.

    1893 is almost as good.

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