Cockta: The Drink of Yugoslavia


Oliver is shown above enjoying a “Cockta” – a drink that was popular during the communist era of Yugoslavia, and which is making a comeback in 21rst century Balkans.

We first noticed it at the basketball games of Red Star. In the center of the floor was a big “Cockta” advert. I didn’t know how to pronounce it because I was going by the Serbian Latin pronounciation, which when there is a “c” it sounds like the “ts” of cats. Later I found out the name originates from a short form of cocktail, hence, “cockta.” An after riding the “cockta” train at Kalemegdan part a couple weeks ago, I needed to find out all about it. 

It was invented in the 1950’s in Slovenia. The drink was designed as an alternative to the capitalist west, Coca Cola. It became popular through a series of ads closely associated with the ski jumping in Slovenia. You can see all the adverts and read more about the drink on the company’s web site. Since then the company has new owners and I read it is making a comeback in the ex-Yugoslavia. I am not sure about market shares, but I see the adverts quite a bit here in Belgrade.


Always True Selection (A Bad Translation)
"Always The True Choice" (A Bad Translation) - Billboard in Belgrade

The soda pop looks like coca cola but has a much different taste. The key ingredient in the mix of 11 herbs, is extract from the dog rose berry. It gives is a distinctive taste and aroma. There is no cafeine  – part of one ad campaign says “If you want cafeine, go for a coffee, if you want milk – go for a cow” It does have sugar so it is not quite a health drink. 

Well, we had a Kralovec family taste test this weekend. Owen thought it tasted like medicine and Nadia thought it too bitter. Ocean is not drinking carbonated beverages yet. That left Ollie and I as the only ones who like it. Ollie orders it instead of coca cola now. I am not a big soda pop guy so I will not order it often. I admire anyone who tries to be original and go against the marketing juggernaut of Coca Cola. I recommend all visitors to Serbia to try one!

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