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Mariani tonic Wine – lithography by Jules Cheret, 1894
Original image on Wikipedia Commons This image (or other media file) is in the public domain because its copyright has expired.
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Vin Mariani (French: Mariani’s wine) was a tonic created circa 1863 by Angelo Mariani, a chemist who became intrigued with coca and its economic potential after reading Paolo Mantegazza’s paper on coca’s effects. In 1863 Mariani started marketing a wine called Vin Mariani which was made from Bordeaux wine treated with coca leaves. The ethanol in the wine acted as a solvent and extracted the cocaine from the coca leaves, altering the drink’s effect. It originally contained 6 mg of cocaine per fluid ounce of wine, but Vin Mariani which was to be exported contained 7.2 mg per ounce in order to compete with the higher cocaine content of similar drinks in the United States.
Vin Mariani was very popular in its day, even among royalty such as Queen Victoria of Great Britain and Ireland. Pope Leo XIII and later Pope Saint Pius X were both Vin Mariani drinkers. Pope Leo awarded a Vatican gold medal to the wine, and also appeared on a poster endorsing it.
Thomas Edison also endorsed the wine, claiming it helped him stay awake for longer hours