Cocaine Wine

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In 1863, chemist Angelo Mariani created Vin Mariani, a combination of Bordeaux wine and coca leaves (you know, where cocaine comes from). As you can imagine, it was an instant hit. Advertisements promised to “restore health and vitality,” cure malaria, and be “especially adapted to children.” Many believed in the medicinal properties of alcohol at the time, and incorporating the newly-discovered cocaine seemed almost too good to be true. The pope at the time was rumored to carry a flask.

Jaya Saxena looks at the disturbing history of energy drinks aka cocaine wine.


Lyz's writing has been published in the New York Times Motherlode, Jezebel, Aeon, Pacific Standard, and others. Her book on midwestern churches is forthcoming from Indiana University Press. She has her MFA from Lesley and skulks about on Twitter @lyzl. Lyz is a member of The Rumpus Advisory Board and a full-time staff writer for the Columbia Journalism Review. More from this author →