As a kid, Hungarian writer Peter Orosz lived in the U.S. with his research scientist parents, and this week, he happened to drink the vintage can of Coca-Cola he’d snagged as a souvenir on the plane ride back to Budapest way back on July 16, 1993. Those expecting rust and gunk may be surprised to hear this pale, “wonderfully clear, citrusy and fresh” soda managed to be more nuanced than its sugar- and high-fructose-corn-syrup-sweetened contemporaries. It was “magnificent,” tasted “insanely great,” and sipped like The Suburbs by the Arcade Fire, Orosz writes, prompting the “sharp realization that this will be the last taste from my childhood that’s not a memory, that an unknown but significant percent of my life is over.” So, basically, old Coke is caffeinated Proust.
Commenters are arguing Orosz isn’t actually tasting an older or somehow unsullied formula of the soda and that it’s only nostalgia in the aged cola. But clearly, based on this report alone, more people should be drinking this stuff. There are enough secondhand aluminum cans floating around for sale, after all, to stock a small, trendy bar, where old Coke could be sold in vintages, à la the rare Chartreuse menu at Pouring Ribbons. It’s just too bad that high markups tend to get in the way of good memories.