Curious as to why there's no mention of the secret formula, since the author is wrong about kola nut being an ingredient of the syrup: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/pr2001447 (from the Coca-Cola wiki page), which interestingly is a component in many purported recipes.
It's also interesting to see a picture of a glass bottle coke when the American product rarely exists in such form. I've sworn off the HFCS version after discovering the Mexican recipe with cane sugar - it tastes so much better and comes in a glass bottle. When I was in Tijuana for a Startup Weekend, that's all they served.
I make my own cola based on the OpenCola recipe . The end product tastes better -- fresher, richer, more interesting -- than ordinary Coca-Cola. I use cane sugar, but then that's nothing novel to me since I'm in Europe where most sodas are made with cane sugar.
I investigated kola nut as part of the process, and kola nut is simply not what I have been assuming all these years. The powdered form of the kola nut has an awful, bitter taste that is nothing like the "cola" taste. Rather, the main source of Coca-Cola's "bite" comes from the acid component. Some of it may perhaps also come from the caffeine and/or processed cocoa leaves.
Also, I have not seen any recipe (including the purported original recipe by Pemberton) that uses kola nut.
This time of year you can buy "Passover Coke." It's made with cane sugar. It has no corn syrup in it whatsoever, while Mexican Coke actually has a ≈70/30 cane/corn mix. You can tell it apart from regular Coke by its yellow cap printed with a circle U (kosher symbol).
It's much cheaper than Mexican Coke (same price as regular 2 liter Coke), although it doesn't come in a glass bottle. And it's delicious! I actually stock up every year since I found out about this.
You should consider making your own cola. It's easy, and very rewarding. Recipe mentioned in my other comment .
Incidentally, there are some very good "alternative" colas. My favourite is Fentimans' Curiosity Cola , which NY Times once described as "the world's best cola", and which is made with a small amount of fermented ginger (fermented juices is their thing). I also really like Boylan's Cane Cola .
Fentimans' sounds awesome. I've had a lot of other cane sodas like Boylan's. My kids and I used to raid Bevmo's soda aisle once a week to try new things. That gets expensive though. Passover Coke is nice and cheap by comparison. I never thought about making my own. Maybe I'll give it a try.
I live in Southern California. I thought it would be hard to find when I first went looking, but the first Albertsons I went in had a giant stack of it. Do you have any grocery stores with a kosher section or an "international" section? That might be a place to look.
I've read it's available some places now; I haven't seen it myself yet this year.
HFCS is not banned in the EU, but its production is limited to 5% of total sugar production.
"Which foods and beverages contain GFS?
Because of the limited availability in Europe, the products in which GFS is used, are those where the sweetening power and other qualities are needed simultaneously. Examples of this can be found in baked goods, cereal products, confectionery, jams and preserves, yogurts and other dairy products, condiments (e.g. mustard and ketchup), canned and packed goods. The use of GFS in soft drinks has been limited as this application needs a fructose content of 42% or higher to give the desired sweetness and GFS is not available in sufficient quantities to be widely used in soft drinks. In the EU, soft drinks continue to be sweetened mostly with sucrose, when in the US, they are sweetened with HFCS."
Corn syrup is also cheaper than sugar in the United States due to large tariffs on imported sugars and large subsidies for domestic corn production. I'm pretty sure this is the original reason for use only in the USA as opposed to laws forbidding it outside.