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A cola is a sweet carbonated drink, usually with caramel flavoring, that frequently contains caffeine. The flavor of the drink comes from a mixture of vanilla, cinnamon, and citrus.

The drink may also be caffeine-free, and although some people (perhaps with a touch of irony) disagree on calling such a drink a cola, neither the cola companies themselves nor the vast majority of consumers would make such a distinction. The name comes from the kola nutss that are often used in production.

Cola drinks may be sweetened with some form of sugar or with an artificial sweetener.

Major brands of cola include Coca-Cola, Pepsi and various local producers. Jolt Cola also has a dedicated cult following, as it has more caffeine than any other cola (or any other carbonated drink, for that matter). Inca Kola is a major South American brand.

In 2002 a new brand, Mecca Cola, aimed at Muslim customers (with the slogan Think Muslim, Drink Muslim), was launched in France by Tawfik Mathlouthi. The product became available in the UK in 2003. Some of the profits are directed to the Palestinian cause, and to domestic charities. [Source: Channel 4 News, 8 Jan 03]

see also: soft drink, Open Cola, soda