Amazing 1893 Pepsi cocktails prove that cola can be more than just a mixer

1893 Pepsi CocktailPepsi is getting into the booze game with more than just whiskey & cola. They’ve been recruiting bartenders to use the 1893 line of fancy colas to create Pepsi cocktails. And you know what? It works.

Earlier this week I attended an 1893 event at The Drifter in Chicago. Unlike many boozy-come-lately knockoffs, this speakeasy-style bar is located in an actual former speakeasy. It’s hidden behind a bookshelf below the Green Door Tavern, which was an Italian restaurant back in the mob’s heyday. More importantly, it’s a unique space that’s as welcoming as it is intriguing.

The photo below makes me want to call shotgun on one of the stools for life.

The event was one of several that have/will take place around the country, each hosted by a renown local bartender. Here in Chicago, the amazing Julia Momose was tapped once again to pull off a tough task, but in signature fashion she was able to create an impressive array of Pepsi cocktails. Each had it’s own unique feel, and each was developed by exploring the different flavors found the Pepsi 1893 varieties. You can’t exactly just throw some Pepsi into an existing drink and expect it to be good.

Aside: While not one of the cocktails, Momose discovered during her flavor exploration that cassis (Black Currant Cola) is perfect with Fernet.

The Pepsi cocktails Momose created were far beyond what I expected coming into the night. My only experience to date with cola in a drink was Jack & Coke. Sorry, Coke… game over. 1893 Pepsi (kola nut extract, real ginger, real sugar, etc) is the new king of the cocktail castle.

You can find all the recipe’s at the bottom of the page and 1893 Pepsi on Amazon (or anywhere else). I can’t recommend enough giving a couple of these a shot. The Dream Driving is far and away my favorite, but I wouldn’t even let you take a sip of any of them were they sitting in front of me. Mine! All mine!

All photos (except my mediocre Tweet) were taken by Huge Galdones, whose ability to pull color in dim spaces is unrivaled.

1893 Pepsi Cocktails

1893 Pepsi Cocktails

1893 Pepsi Cocktails

1893 Pepsi Cocktails

1893 Pepsi Cocktails

Black and Gold
By 1893 Top Shelf Bartender Julia Momose, Chicago, IL

2 Dashes Regan’s Orange Bitters
.75 oz Lemon Juice
.5 oz Simple Syrup
1.5 oz Great Kings Street Artist’s Blend Scotch
1893 Ginger Cola
Lemon swath

Fill a Collins glass half-way with cracked ice. Gently pour 1893 Ginger Cola down the side of the glass until half-full. Shake the other half of the cocktail and fine strain gently over the top of the cocktail to create a layered effect. Top off with ice as needed. Garnish with a long manicured lemon swath and spritz of Peated Scotch for Aroma.

Forbidden Fruit
By 1893 Top Shelf Bartender Julia Momose, Chicago, IL

.5 Tsp. Rich Demerara Syrup (2:1)
1 oz Joto Nigori Sake
1.5 oz Singani 63
1.5 oz 1893 Black Currant Cola
Mint Sprig

Stir all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Pour into chilled Nick & Nora or coupe glass and garnish with mint sprig.

Dream Driving
By 1893 Top Shelf Bartender Julia Momose, Chicago, IL

.5 Tsp. Rich Demerara Syrup (2:1)
1 oz North Shore Aquavit
1 oz Don Amado Rustico Mezcal
1 oz 1893 Citrus Cola

Stir all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Pour into chilled Nick & Nora or small coupe glass. Top off with 1893 Citrus Cola and garnish with a manicured grapefruit swath.

Kola Daiquiri
By 1893 Top Shelf Bartender Julia Momose, Chicago, IL

2 Dashes Angostura Bitters
.25 oz Rich Demerara Syrup (2:1)
.75 oz Lime Juice
.5 oz Smith and Cross Rum
1.5 oz 1893 Original Cola

Shake all ingredients with the exception of the cola in a tin with ice. Pour into chilled Nick & Nora or small coupe glass. Top off with 1893 Original Cola and garnish with a manicured lime swath.

Colin Joliat
About Colin Joliat 270 Articles
Colin Joliat is the brains behind this rinky-dink operation. He covers the alcohol industry with two parts information, one part comedy, and one part WTF is wrong with this guy. He's written for Brobible, Guyism, Thrillist, CoolMaterial, Craft, and more.