“Baikal” – Russia’s answer to Pepsi and Coca a Cola


Baikal – “Really Refreshing”

A dark-brown color and delicate fragrance of natural herbs and roots. This describeda new fizzy drink called Baikal, which the Soviet Union launched into production in 1976. It was the food industry’s response to Coca-Cola, which was popular around the world. Although it may have resembled its overseas competitor by its color, the taste was significantly different. And it is no wonder, because according to the GOST standard it consisted solely of sugar, citric acid, carbon dioxide, St. John’s wort tincture, extract of Eleutherococcus, and essential oils of eucalyptus, laurel, and lemon. It is the last ingredients that made Baikal really refreshing. It quenched thirst, and yet was safe for both adults and children. Moreover, according to history, at first the drink included pine cones, but then, due to the economy, they were left out. Of course, neither Pepsi nor Coca-Cola could boast such an arsenal of ingredients.


Khrushchev tries Pepsi

The idea to start production of a new refreshing drink originated long before 1976. In 1959 the first American trade exhibition was heldin Moscow. The American side was represented by President Nixon, and the Russian side by Nikita Khrushchev. It was there that Khrushchev first tried PepsiCo’s product. He liked it very much. While the secretary-general savored the curiosities, representatives of “the bourgeois world” did not pass up the opportunity to use it for their business purposes. Soon photos appeared of the Soviet leader with the inscription: “Khrushchev learns to bemore sociable. Pepsi helped him with this.”


Baikal – Considered Healthy For Consumption

When in 1972 the company announced its intention to enter the market of the USSR and started to actively developits production, Soviet scientists decided to create their own refreshing drink. It had dark-brown color, but a completely different taste, because for many long years the competitors held their recipes in strict confidence.

It is believed that not even the factory workers knew how Pepsi or Coca-Cola were made. It’s not surprising, because in addition to water and burnt sugar,eight-liter sealed containers were supplied to the Union… This fact was subsequently used to advertise Baikal, which was considered healthy for consumption, while on the contrary the American beverages were suggested to be harmful.

There are several interesting facts about Baikal. At one time, dentists argued that it should be drunk only through a straw so as not to damage tooth enamel. Legend has it that foreign companies tried to establish its composition, but were unsuccessful.

17 thoughts on ““Baikal” – Russia’s answer to Pepsi and Coca a Cola

      1. If I had never left the states I would have never known. The truth be known I think food here and other places overseas are much healthier than in the States.

      2. Steeve, with one exception – China.
        Actaully air pollution and China-origin food are main reasons why few of my exapt friends in China do not consider China for long term living there.
        I.e. rearding chinese food they have a lot of troubles there: poluted soil, a lot of chemistry in food (as in plants growed on poluted soil with a lot “farm”-chemistry as in livestock – all that + various biochemistry agents), a lot of GMO, poluted water used for plants and for livestock and so on.
        Sure in HK situaion is better, but only b\c you can buy there a lot of imported food (not China-origin).

        However, there is a hope that in next 10 years Chinese Goverment will start to solve troubles with enviroment pollution. At least they declared such course and started to develop internal market(what means decreasing of export manufacturing powers) and the same time already started paying attention to ecology and healthy enviroment.
        Who knows… chinese are known for being capable to make huge projects in pretty short terms.
        So it is quite possible that in future they ,if not exterminate these troubles, then, at least will improve their eco situation a lot.

    1. Today it depends a lot from exact manufacture. Actually not all of them good and nice\fair.

      For example this one is not bad (not ideal and not the best one, but pretty nice):

      Here you have here 40 calorie per 100 gram. Actually i dunno how calorie directly correlates wth healthiness of the beverage? Ingredient in such case matters more and sure nature of carbohydrates (natural sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, chemical sugar substitutes).

    2. Remember this is Russia, the drink was designed in Russia for the Russian consumer. I’m not sure they even distribute on a worldwide scale. The drink itself is more of a herbal drink. Here drinks Coke and Pepsi are considered posions and not fit for human consumption.

  1. I am not chemist and cannot say what is the formula of this beverage. However it taste like usual sugar syrup, nothing else. Even my children when they were small enough to understand anything about what is good what is bad for their health refused to drink it as well as Coka Cola and Pepsi Cola. Nothing is better than clear water. 🙂

    1. Well, actually, every sweet soda\beverage is a kind of sweet\sugar syrup dissolved in water.
      Some ppl even do that by their own: first they make some lightly-carbonated water at some carbonatation service avaiable around the city and then append to it their own home-made syrup or even jam. Others do that without water carbonation and use just chilled water.

      The question in matter of consumer beverages is WHAt KIND of syrup do they contain… And even is it natural sugar one?… and is it really syrup(what should kind of natural extract) or kind of chemical compound “clued” by HFCS?

      p.s. And good mineral table water is always much better and healthy than any just clear or especially overcleared\filtered water. 😉

      1. Actually, I do not drink any soda, this is why for myself all of them are pretty much the same. Another thing, when I am talking about clean water it doesn’t mean I drink distilled water which doesn’t consist any mineral.

      2. Well, i did’t talk about distilled water. You see, there is a big difference exist in quality and healthyness ,for example, between this:

        and this:

        and espcially this:

        So-called clear butylated water is very often just filtered tap water…and sometimes even not filtered…or overfiltered.
        I talked about that considering your claims much better option would be mineral table water – natural unfiltered water with low to middle natural mineralisation.

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