Rego Park woman heads to the finals in nationwide Coca-Cola freestyle flavor competition

Photo courtesy of Danuta Rybak

A Rego Park woman is going head-to-head with four other contestants to see which person created the best Coca-Cola flavor concoction.

Born and raised in Poland, 43-year-old Danuta Rybak moved to the United States 23 years ago. After spending some time in New Jersey, Rybak moved to Queens in 2013, where she worked in hospitality and catering before moving into real estate.

However, Rybak is a foodie at heart and has always loved to cook. And for her, entering the Coca-Cola “Make Your Mix” freestyle competition was a no-brainer.

“I took up cooking jobs as a hobby and started entering cooking contests,” Rybak said. “When I stumbled upon the Coca-Cola freestyle contest, it felt right. I’ve always loved Coca-Cola; it’s my favorite drink.”

The rules for the Coca-Cola “Make Your Mix” contest were simple: fans entered the contest by mixing two or three of Coca-Cola Freestyle’s nearly 200 drink choices and sharing photos or videos of their mixes on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #MakeYourMixContest. 

Rybak knew that Cherry Coke was going to be the base for her drink.

“I love cherries. I’m always making cherry desserts,” said Rybak. “So I knew Cherry Coke had to be my first ingredient.”

With her based flavor chosen, Rybak chose flavors that she believed would balance well with the cherries, leading her to choose Fanta Orange and Lemonade as mix-ins. She calls her drink the “Lemon Fan Cherry Cola.”


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My creation for #makeyourmixcontest I call it “Lemon Fan Cherry Cola” (40% Lemonade +20% Fanta + 40% Cherry Coke) @cocacolafreestyle_us

A post shared by Danuta Rybak (@danutellascorner) on

“I thought orange would be a great complement to the cherry, and lemonade would give it more variety,” said Rybak. “I wanted to keep with the fruit theme.”

Rybak and the four other contestants’ mixes will be put to the test to determine the winner. From Aug. 26 until Nov. 4., their mixes available for America to try on over 50,000 Coca-Cola Freestyle machines nationwide. Consumers will cast their votes for their favorite mix by selecting and pouring it at a Coca-Cola Freestyle dispenser. The winner, which will be determined by which fan-created mix attracts the most pours by volume, will win $10,000.

As a foodie, Rybak already runs a food blog (Danutella’s Corner) and a YouTube channel where she makes and shares recipes. Should she win, Rybak wants to use the money to help fund a Polish-inspired mini-food truck.

“My long-term goal is to start my own business,” said Rybak. “The mini food truck is in the process of being built. I’ve had the idea for quite a few years, but it has been delayed and delayed. More funds would help finish the truck and provide equipment and advertising.”

To find a Coca-Cola Freestyle machine, visit coca-colafreestyle.com/find-freestyle-locations.