You may have noticed cola champagne in the soda section of your local store, not in the liquor section.
That’s because this fizzy pop isn’t alcoholic at all.
Still, the name may make you curious.
What does a cola-flavored champagne-that’s-not-a-champagne taste like? And why is it called champagne?
Cola or Kola Champagne may sound like a delightful alcoholic cocktail but has no cola or champagne.
In fact, cola champagne just means fizzy soda.
The original Kola Champagne was invented over 100 years ago.
Since then, many versions of the beverage have been created across Latin America and the United States.
So what flavor is cola champagne? And what makes it so popular?
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What is cola champagne?
In 1902, Ángel Rivero Méndez, a soldier who became a journalist and businessman, invented Kola Champagne at his El Polo Norte Fábrica de Sodas (the North Pole soda factory) in Puerto Rico.
This original cola champagne was a yellowish-brown beverage with a vanilla flavor similar to cream soda.
Rivero Méndez’s company no longer exists, although many Puerto Rican companies still make cola champagne.
Some soda enthusiasts argue that cola champagne has its origins in Trinidad and Tobago.
Solo Kola Champagne, which is bright red, is unique to the area.
This variety of soda pop is made by S.M. Jaleel & Company Ltd, also known as SMJ, the largest manufacturer of non-alcoholic drinks in the English-speaking Caribbean.
The flavor of Solo Kola Champagne is also sweet and bubblegummy.
Today, cola champagne is made by several different producers around the world, particularly in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Some of the most famous international varieties of champagne cola are:
- Peruvian Inca Kola, which is luminous yellow and the Peruvian national soda
- El Salvador’s Cuzcâtlan Cola Champagne, which is a bright orange
- Canadian Cool Runnings Cola Champagne, a bright yellow Caribbean-style soda
- Jamaica’s Kola Champagne, which is produced by beverage producer D&G, also responsible for Ting and Red Sprite Beer.
Champagne sodas are also made in Europe: for example, Norway’s Villa Champagnebrus is a fruit-flavored champagne soda.
However, in 2004, the European Union ruled that only beverages from Champagne in France could use the name “champagne”, so no European champagne sodas use this term – and Villa Champagnebrus is now referred to as “Villa”.
What does cola champagne taste like?
Some fans liken it to root beer, but cola champagne lacks the slight bitterness and bite of root beer.
It has a strong, somewhat artificial aftertaste.
For this reason, some compare cola champagnes to mouthwash, cough syrup, sugary carbonated water, or even leftover sodas all mixed together.
Fans of champagne cola – particularly people who grew up with it – find it refreshing and less sweet than American colas.
Depending on where you first tried champagne cola, you may like a particular nation’s version of the beverage.
What is fruit champagne cola?
Don’t confuse fruit-champagne cola with non-alcoholic champagne, which is usually sparkling or carbonated fruit juice.
For example, South Africa’s Appletiser and Grapetiser, or Brazil’s Guarana Champagne, which are often grouped into the fruit champagne category, are actually pure fruit juice, not sugary soda.
These beverages are crisp, fruity, and full-bodied, more like wine than soda pop.
Haiti’s other popular soda, Cola Lacaye, is also a fruit champagne cola that comes in banana and other fruit flavors, while Tropic S.A.’s Fiesta is made in citrus, grape, and original cola champagne.
You can see that the flavors of fruit champagne cola are as diverse as fruits themselves – but not actually containing fruit.
What is cola champagne made of?
Most brands of cola champagne contain carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavor, colorants, preservatives, and citric acid.
Some craft variants of cola champagne are made with cane sugar. Cola Champagne does not contain caffeine.
One 355 ml can of Goya’s Cola Champagne has 200 calories and 47 g of carbohydrates, 45 g of which are sugar.
It is fat-free and low in sodium.
This carbohydrate-sugar ratio is typical of cola champagnes in general, which are very high in sugar.
However, this is still far from the 72 % sugar which Mountain Dew, the highest sugar soda, contains.
Should I try cola champagne?
Reviews of the flavor of cola champagne might put you off with their comments about cough syrup and mouthwash.
However, people from Latin America will urge you to try cola champagne, citing its fresh flavor and refreshing qualities.
There are cola champagnes and fruit champagnes from just about every country in South America and the Caribbean, so if you are a soda enthusiast, it is worth dipping into this world of flavors.
Whichever you choose to try out first, champagne cola is a tasty and unusual alternative to traditional cola beverages.
Where can I buy cola champagne?
Cola champagne is a style or type of soda rather than a single brand.
It is similar to cream soda and was invented in Puerto Rico way back in 1902.
Most cola champagnes are intensely sweet and light, yellowish in color, and high in sugar.
The flavor of cola champagne is most often compared to bubblegum, while fruit champagnes are like fizzy fruit punch.