In the mid-1880s, Sherlock Holmes was experimenting with cocaine by injecting himself subcutaneously with a seven per cent solution of the drug. At the same time, across the Atlantic, a fellow named John Pemberton was experimenting with cocaine, too, mixing it with soda water, sugar, kola nut flavoring, and some other things to come up with a drink he called Coca-cola.
Were the two in any way connected?
Sadly, no. While Sherlock Holmes had the cocaine, and a gasogene for making soda water, he wasn’t too keen on the other ingredients. The only time sugar appears in Holmes’s cases is when someone is feeding it to a dog. While Sherlock Holmes does have sugar tongs in his flat, he only uses them to have Watson pick up a poisoned trap-box – not the sort of thing you’d do if you planned to eat any sugar with them. And kola nuts? Not exactly something vendors were selling on the streets.
Sherlock Holmes was limited to mixing his friends and clients basic drinks like whiskey and soda,or brandy and soda. He never was known to have anything to do with root beer, ginger beer, sarsparilla, or any other sort of soda pop, despite the presence of the soda-water –producing gasogene in his sitting room.
So why even bring up the subject, other than because many fans of Holmes are also fans of Coca-cola? Well there was one oddly coincidental bit of timing:
In 1903, cocaine was taken out of the Coca-cola recipe. In 1903, Sherlock Holmes retired from detective work.
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