Matt’s Homemade Cola Recipe

Team Citrus:

  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Zest of 1/2 orange
  • Juice of 1 orange

Team Extract:

  • 1 tsp brown/caramel color (pretty much any “brown food coloring” is caramel color. You can even find it at Whole Foods)
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Team Syrup:

  • 1/2 quart water
  • 14 oz sugar

Team Flavor:

  • 5 inches cinnamon sticks, snapped / crushed / chopped into pieces.
  • 1 Tbs bitter orange peel (available from some grocery stores and homebrew stores)
  • 1/2 tsp whole coriander seed
  • 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp gum arabic (available from some homebrew stores and on Amazon)
  • 1 Tbs kola nut pieces (I’ve only found this on Amazon. Not strictly necessary, but then, this is where “cola” gets its name.)
  • 1/2 tsp caffeine (available from nutritional supplement / vitamin stores and Amazon)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 star anise pod, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp clove
  • 1/2 tsp citric acid (available from some homebrew stores and Amazon)


  1. Zest the lemon, lime, and 1/2 of the orange with a microplane grater or a peeler. Put all of Team Flavor and the Team Citrus zest in a quart-sized pot. Add in Team Syrup and bring to a boil, stirring well. Once the mixture comes to a moderate boil, turn off the heat and allow to cool.
  2. Combine the Team Citrus juice and Team Extract to the cooled syrup. Strain to remove the pieces of zest and Team Flavor.
  3. Yield: about 3 cups of cola extract. Combine 1 part cola with 3 parts carbonated water to create a cola drink, or combine as instructed on a SodaStream or other carbonating device.