⟨ Misc ⟩

The Craft Cola

The Grandfather’s Wisdom

Words / Ron Lam
Translation / Iris Heung

日本有不少居酒屋及酒吧,都會提供自家釀製的手工啤酒,店主依著自己的口味,以不同的食材及方式,釀造出別具個性的啤酒,沒想到,這手工飲品文化,居然默默地漫延至可樂了。

關於可樂的原材料,猜想大部份也如我,只知道內含有大量砂糖及水,至於那獨特的香味,究竟從何而來,則一無所知。原來製造可樂的最重要成分,來自原產於非洲一種名為可樂果的植物,可樂果能治療哮喘等氣管疾病,因此可樂在發明之初被視為藥物。現時可樂生產商已經以人工香料取代可樂果,不過在日本的伊良可樂,卻沿用百多年前的傳統配方,製作手工可樂。

伊良可樂的創辦人小林先生的祖父是一位和漢方職人,經營一家生產漢方藥物的公司,小林先生自小學起,便常到祖父的工場,幫忙草藥調配的工作。而他的可樂配方,便是祖父傳授的。

將可樂果、小豆蒄、肉豆蒄等十多種材分製成糖漿,加入檸檬,混合梳打水,再灑上香草後,就成為小林先生獨一無二的手工可樂。現時伊良可樂並沒有固定舖面,每個周末及周日,小林先生都會駕著流動餐車,來到東京各地擺檔。有興趣知道他的行程,可參考伊良可樂的Instagram

Many of the izakaya restaurants and pubs in Japan would provide their home-brew beer. The shop owners would use their unique ingredients and methods to brew craft beer with a distinctive taste. Who would have expected homemade, or craft cola is as well slowly becoming a trend?

When talking about the ingredients in cola making, I guess many people, including me, can only name a good amount of sugar and water. Then where does that irreplaceable aroma actually come from? Little did we know the main ingredient is a kind of fruit native to the tropical forests of Africa called cola, which can be used to cure asthma and other respiratory diseases. Therefore, when cola was first invented, it was seen as a medication. The cola manufacturers nowadays usually replace the natural fruit with artificial flavor. However, the Iyoshi Cola from Japan insists to use the original recipe from more than a hundred years ago for their craft cola.

The grandfather of Kobayashi, founder of Iyoshi Cola, was a professional in Chinese medicine. Back then, Kobayashi spent a great deal of time in the Chinese medicine factory run by his grandfather, helping out adjusting the prescription. There, he inherited the recipe of cola from his grandfather.

Using syrup made from a combination of cola fruit, cardamom, nutmeg, and more than ten other ingredients together as a base, lemon, soda water and herbs are added on top to acquire this unique blend of craft cola. Iyoshi Cola is currently still a pop-up concept without an actual store. Every weekend, Kobayashi would drive around in his little drink truck to different corners of Tokyo to greet customers. Follow the Instagram of Iyoshi Cola to keep it on your radar.