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Episode 60: Cocalero
Episode 609th July 2021 • Liquor and Liqueur Connoisseur • Matt Birchard
00:00:00 00:17:58

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Episode 60 features Cocalero Clasico, the sacred spirit of the Andes - a coca leaf flavored liqueur. The bottle for the tasting is 750mL at 29% ABV, or 58 proof and sells for about $25 - $30.

Enjoy this episode with a pour of Cocalero - try a CocaBomb shot, or just mix it with some tonic.

Cocalero's official website:

Brief Historical Timeline:

  • 1863 - Coca Wine invented by Angelo Mariani in Paris, and sold as Vin Mariani
  • 1886 - Dr. John Pemberton, inventor of Coca-Cola creates his own version of coca wine, but must remove the alcohol due to the local temperance movement, creating the Coca-Cola soft drink recipe
  • 2004 - John Ralph gets into the spirits importation business in Ireland
  • 2008 - John Ralph branches out to China
  • 2010 - Irish importation and distribution business is sold and John moves to China full time
  • 2013 - Cocalero is launched in Asia
  • 2014 - Cocalero takes off in Japan
  • 2019 - Sales surpass 1 million bottles per year, and they launch in the US market. COVID-19 global pandemic also starts
  • 2021 - Growth ahead with upcoming launches in Russia and India

Key Cocktails:

Cocalero is consumed on premises primarily, and often served as a CocaBomb:

Layer Cocalero over your favor mixer or energy drink in the signature CocaBomb glass (a modified quaffer, double bubble shot glass).


My thanks to Cocalero inventor, as well as founder and CEO of Intrepid Spirits, John Ralph, for speaking with me for this episode, and for providing the bottle for the tasting.

Wikipedia Article on Pemberton's French Wine Coca

Wikipedia Article on Cocalero (the coca leaf farmer)

DrinkHacker Review of Cocalero

Contact Information:

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Twitter: @LLConnoisseur