Sugar-cane Coca Cola in NYC?
February 20, 2006 7:05 PM   Subscribe

Where can I buy sugar-cane Coca Cola (or comparable colas) in New York City? I went to Italy last year and was able to enjoy Coke sweetened with sugar cane instead of the awful high-fructose corn syrup glop, and I have been dreaming about the stuff every since.

Apparently the sugar-cane-sweetened Coke is still produced in Mexico; but at this point I am not willing to travel that far just to get a soft drink. (I would, however, be willing to travel a few hours from NYC, if required.)

I also hear that a kosher cane-sweetened version of Coke is produced for Passover, and intend to stock up when that time of the year comes around. I suppose it won't be hard to find in this city, but if anyone knows of a particularly good place to buy it, I would like to know.

I have encountered various esoteric cola brands in stores here. They tend to be on the expensive side, and taste more like cola and less like Coke. One product in particular, Boylan Sugar Cane Cola, tastes like root beer, ie. minty mouthwash, and should not be mentioned.

Friends also tell me that RC Cola is made with sugar cane and is an excellent substitute, but I have not been able to find it anywhere here. Friends have not been able to tell me where I could buy the stuff, however.

This Slashfood post talks about a WSJ article about how Mexican Coca Cola is being imported and sold in various places in the US. Their link is broken, however, and I have not been able to find the article online. Have anyone found this stuff in New York?
posted by gentle to Food & Drink (35 answers total)
I read the WSJ article, and it said that most of the stuff coming into the US (all illegally) is being sold in Mexican markets. Maybe try some hispanic-heavy bodegas?
posted by occhiblu at 7:10 PM on February 20, 2006

Someone wrote in a previous thread that you can get it at Jewish delis, because it's kosher.
posted by solid-one-love at 7:10 PM on February 20, 2006

A little Googling found a great web site:

I've never dealt with them before, but they do have Mexican Coca-Cola, as well as lots of really nifty stuff!
posted by gregvr at 7:14 PM on February 20, 2006

We also get sugar Coke not corn Coke in Canada.
posted by Mitheral at 7:17 PM on February 20, 2006

There must be some brands of cola in the US that use sucrose (rather then fructose) for sweetening.
posted by delmoi at 7:17 PM on February 20, 2006

comparable colas: Whole Foods (definitely in NYC) and Trader Joe's (not sure) both have a good selection of sugar-cane colas and other cane-sweetened sodas.
posted by whatzit at 7:19 PM on February 20, 2006

Actually, Whole Foods' store brand is sugar-cane sweetened. I haven't tried their cola, but I love the ginger ale. That might be worth checking out. (And pretty much any soda in the health/organic food aisle of your supermarket will be non-corn-syruped.)
posted by occhiblu at 7:20 PM on February 20, 2006

Or, what whatzit said!
posted by occhiblu at 7:20 PM on February 20, 2006

Its funny ...when I was living in the UK, American friends of mine told me to try the 'real' Coca Cola made with high fructose corn syrup as it tasted "so much better". I spent ages trying to track down an American Coke. Good luck in your search.
posted by xoe26 at 7:22 PM on February 20, 2006

The Kosher for Passover corn-free Coke will indeed be hitting shelves soon. I'd head to Brooklyn or Queens if I were you: places like Shop Smart (2640 Nostrand Avenue, Brooklyn) and Supersol (68-18 Main Street, Kew Gardens Hills) will have tons of it. Kosher supermarkets, or places with a Kosher for Passover section (Food Emporium and PathMark come to mind) in Manhattan will probably have it too -- Supersol at 526 Amsterdam Ave, probably.

The Kosher for Passover ones will usually have a yellow cap, and will say Kosher for Passover on the label and/or the bottlecap.
posted by greatgefilte at 7:22 PM on February 20, 2006

Kitchen Market next to Bright Food Shop in Chelsea has it.
posted by kimdog at 7:39 PM on February 20, 2006

I can get sugar-sweetened Coke at all the Mexican grocers where I live. The back pasted-on label says "high fructose corn syrup or fructose" but the taste confirms that it's not HFCS. Go for the glass bottles, not the plastic ones.
posted by desuetude at 8:08 PM on February 20, 2006

I hear you. I live in Mexico near the US border and I prefer mexican sugar cane coke to US Coke (although now I only drink Coca Cola Light). One thing, though: the small glass bottle presentation (as shown at the sodapopstop webpage sent by gregvr) is actually not as good as the 350 ml. one. I don't know why but they taste different (I heard it had something to do with the gas in the carbonated water). If you can find the larger bottle (350 ml.), I suggest you buy that one instead. It shouldn't be hard to find it at any mexican store in NYC.
posted by yugolplex at 8:23 PM on February 20, 2006

Second the Mexican grocers. There are more than one near me who carry what desuetude describes and it is the right stuff. It also is lower calorie per volume. 150 or 160 for 500 mL.
posted by 6550 at 8:25 PM on February 20, 2006

What is the taste difference?
posted by crabintheocean at 8:46 PM on February 20, 2006

What is the taste difference?

Cane sugar Coke is less cloyingly, syrupy sweet and has a cleaner fizzier finish. It's comparable to the difference between real maple syrup and Mrs. Butterworth.
posted by Danelope at 9:33 PM on February 20, 2006

Thanks, everyone -- these answers are much better than what I expected.

Kitchen Market next to Bright Food Shop in Chelsea has it.

I am in Chelsea, so this is excellent news.

What is the taste difference?

Danelope is right on. Another benefit is the cleaner aftertaste; after a few cans of corn-syrup Coke, my mouth feels filthy, my tastebuds clogged up, and I have the sudden desire to shave my tongue.
posted by gentle at 9:56 PM on February 20, 2006

What is the taste difference?

It's kinda like the difference between a decent chocolate and those weird brands that show up on the shelves at Halloween and Easter. Cane sugar allows the notes from other flavorings to retain their definition, while corn syrup tends to smother everything else under a tsunami of sweeeeeet.
posted by nikzhowz at 10:07 PM on February 20, 2006

High fructose corn syrup tastes like ass. If you can make it to a Trader Joe's and you like Root Beer, try Virgils. Hansens Sasspirilla is also pretty good. Both use real sugar.
posted by doctor_negative at 11:31 PM on February 20, 2006

I called Coca-Cola in December to ask where I could get sucrose-Coke. I couldn't get the girl there to understand the issue. She eventually suggested that I call my local bottler to find out when/where to get it.

BTW, if you've never seen The Coca Cola Kid, you've been missing out. It has an awesome song by one of the Finn brothers.

"Don't wanna go where there's no Coca-Cola..."
posted by neuron at 11:57 PM on February 20, 2006

Keep an eye out for German Afri-Cola. That stuff is die Bombe.

Also remember that sugar isn't always cane sugar; I think most sugar in the U.S. comes from sugar beets.
posted by hartsell at 12:32 AM on February 21, 2006

Mitheral, you sure about the sugar thing in Canada? It sure tastes like corn syrup -- or worse, beet sugar -- to me.

For a really intense cola, go to your local Indian store and ask for Thums Up. It actually has a flavour apart from just sugar.
posted by scruss at 4:43 AM on February 21, 2006

I also recommend the Imperial Cane Sugar Dr Pepper avaliable (as far as I know) only near the HQ in Waco, TX.
posted by sourwookie at 7:43 AM on February 21, 2006

I got the Cane Sugar Dr. Pepper at Whole Foods in Austin, but was told it's only seasonally available.
Why isn't corn syrup kosher?
posted by Sara Anne at 9:11 AM on February 21, 2006

Keep an eye out for German Afri-Cola. That stuff is die Bombe.

Looks like it, too. Is it available in the US?
posted by gentle at 9:44 AM on February 21, 2006

Why isn't corn syrup kosher?

IANJ but corn is one the forbidden foods during Passover.
posted by 6550 at 9:51 AM on February 21, 2006

hartsell, I'd love to try some Afri-Cola. But where do you get it? Whenever I'm in Germany, I see the posters, but nobody actually has it for sale.
posted by Rash at 11:04 AM on February 21, 2006

I just bought a few 350ml glass bottles at Kitchen Market. It's definitely Mexican, but it's also definitely corn-syrup-based.
posted by gentle at 11:06 AM on February 21, 2006

You want the 500 mL glass bottles.
posted by 6550 at 12:14 PM on February 21, 2006

When I go to the little Mexican markets, I ask if it's Mexican Coke -- that's known as shorthand for real sugar, and they're always straight up with me and let me know if the Mexican stuff is only the big glass bottles, or everything except the plastic bottles, or if they're out of it.

The US still bottles a limited amount of Coca-Cola in glass bottles and I hear that HFCS is starting to creep into Mexico, so it's getting less easy to get a sure-sugar-thing.
posted by desuetude at 12:45 PM on February 21, 2006

scruss writes "Mitheral, you sure about the sugar thing in Canada? It sure tastes like corn syrup -- or worse, beet sugar -- to me."

I just know Canadian Coke does not taste the same as American Coke. I always pig out on Coke when I'm down there as it's a bit of a change.

Now if there is a Coke that is even better then what we get here I'll have to try it.
posted by Mitheral at 12:49 PM on February 21, 2006

glucose test strips for urine will tell you whether your drinks are sweetened with HFCS (glucose will be present along with fructose) or sugar (sucrose won't react).
posted by oneirodynia at 7:49 PM on February 21, 2006

I am utterly addicted to RC Cola for the same reason (I find it tastes much better than Coke, at any rate), and I know if you can't find it in NYC, it is most definitely available in northeastern Pennsylvania (i.e. the Poconos region and nearby). It's usually carried in most reasonably sized supermarkets, and often somewhat cheaper than regular Coca-Cola. I used to stock up on cases of RC and Birchola birch beer whenever I returned to my parents' hometown (Scranton) because I had such trouble finding either brand elsewhere.
posted by muscatlove at 6:51 PM on February 22, 2006

I found some RC Cola in NYC (at Gristides on 8th Ave, if anyone is interested), but it was corn syrup. I suspect RC has stopped using sucrose along with everyone else.
posted by gentle at 9:25 PM on February 28, 2006

Afri-Cola used to be available at Fog City News here in San Francisco, but now I can't find it anywhere. I first drank it last year in East Berlin, where it was available at every convenience store I went to. It must be out there somewhere.

I second the recommendation for Thums Up. It's different from normal cola... kind of spicy like ginger beer. Good stuff.
posted by hartsell at 3:48 PM on April 7, 2006

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