REVIEW: Dr Pepper Zero Sugar

Dr Pepper Zero Sugar Bottle

What is Dr Pepper Zero Sugar?

Keurig Dr Pepper has released a new sugar-free formulation of its iconic soft drink. Using a combination of aspartame and acesulfame potassium, Dr Pepper Zero Sugar is being described as an addition to the aspartame-only Diet Dr Pepper, rather than a replacement.

How is it?

Dr Pepper famously has 23 unique flavors, and you can find lists on the internet that purport to reveal them all. I don’t know how accurate these are (carrot, really?), but as a frequent Diet Dr Pepper drinker, I’m very familiar with what they create.

Dr Pepper Zero Sugar Closeup

I pour Dr Pepper Zero Sugar into a glass and take a sip. It tastes like the Diet Dr Pepper that I’m familiar with. Yet, I think a more direct comparison will be fruitful.

One result of spending way too much thinking about junk food is that I’ve realized how susceptible to marketing I am. I prefer Coca-Cola over Pepsi partially because of its comfortable, timeless-seeming aesthetic, as opposed to Pepsi’s aggressively cool Generation Next campaign from my childhood. I still think of a Subway sandwich as a healthy option.

Dr Pepper Zero Sugar Compare

I choose Diet Dr Pepper from the work vending machine because it tastes more like regular Dr Pepper. But does it, really? To test this, I grabbed the original, diet, and zero sugar versions to try them side-by-side. It’s a Dr Pepper Challenge, if you will.

I haven’t had a regular Dr Pepper or any full-sugar soda in years, so I taste it first to establish a baseline. It’s very similar to the Zero Sugar version, with a more syrupy consistency and more intense sweetness. I move onto the diet one and am surprised by the difference. The mouthfeel is thinner and the sweetness has a flatness with a slightly chemical flavor that I’ve never noticed before. It does not taste like regular Dr Pepper. This is very concerning to me. Are my opinions so subject to media influence? Am I captive to corporate forces larger than I can conceive? I resample Dr Pepper Zero Sugar to confirm that it tastes more like regular Dr Pepper, and am convinced that it more faithfully replicates the original.

Conclusion:

Dr Pepper Zero Sugar has opened my eyes to the truth. Diet Dr Pepper does not taste more like regular Dr Pepper, but this version does. Well played, Doctor, though you can still expect a malpractice lawsuit for all the quarters I’ve fed into the cafeteria soda machine.

Purchased Price: $1.99
Size: 2 Liter
Purchased at: Piggly Wiggly
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (12 fl oz) 0 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 60 milligrams of sodium, 0 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 0 grams of sugar, and 0 gram of protein.

REVIEW: Dr Pepper & Cream Soda

Dr Pepper  Cream Soda

What is Dr Pepper & Cream Soda?

Peanut butter and jelly. Ham and cheese. An entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s and the ensuing, all-encompassing feeling of shame. Some things naturally go together, and now two carbonated icons, Dr Pepper and cream soda, aim to count themselves among famous pairs.

How is it?

With its dark cola color, Dr Pepper & Cream Soda looks like regular Dr Pepper, but its scent carries a strong vanilla vibe.

The cream soda taste – a creamy vanilla that conjures memories of sundaes and floats – is immediately noticeable at first sip. With subsequent sips, Dr Pepper’s 23 flavors come back to the forefront, with the cream soda lingering in the background. The flavor combination is definitely a pleasant and harmonious one. I would guess at a 2:1 ratio of Dr Pepper to cream soda.

Dr Pepper  Cream Soda Closeup

As a result of the pairing, the “spicy bite” that the original Dr Pepper is known for becomes muted, but because of the way the flavors take turns in the foreground, it is always clear that this is a Dr Pepper product. Interestingly, more so than its other flavor combinations like Cherry Vanilla, Dr Pepper & Cream Soda manages to achieve a smooth “cream finish” feeling characteristic of cream soda.

Although I wouldn’t necessarily describe myself as a purist, I tend to prefer the original Dr Pepper to any of its flavored incarnations. However, I was really impressed at how well Dr Pepper & Cream Soda recreates the subtle flavor of cream soda without letting it get lost among the bolder flavors of Dr Pepper. I would drink this one again.

Is there anything else you need to know?

Due to its varying colors and flavors (including everything from raspberry to cotton candy), cream soda can mean different things to different regions. To me, Dr Pepper & Cream Soda’s flavor profile most closely resembles A&W Cream Soda, which makes sense considering the same company owns them.

Conclusion:

Dr Pepper & Cream Soda expertly recreates and balances a sweet, creamy vanilla flavor with its original formula. It made me wonder what other delicious, unexpected soda combinations are waiting to be discovered.

Purchased Price: $4.49
Size: 6 pack of 20-ounce bottles
Purchased at: Giant Eagle
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (per 20 oz.) 210 calories, 0 grams of fat, 80 milligrams of sodium, 56 grams of carbohydrates, 55 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Dr Pepper Dark Berry

Dr Pepper Dark Berry

What is Dr Pepper Dark Berry?

Dr Pepper’s 23 flavors has added another – the ominous “Dark Berry,” which is inspired by the upcoming independent arthouse film, “Spider-man: Far From Home.”

WARNING – This review contains SPOILERS!

Relax, one guy who hasn’t seen Avengers: Endgame yet, I’m just reviewing a soda.

How is it?

To me, it smells like Dr Pepper with a drop of Robitussin – a mix of everyone’s two favorite syrups, corn and cough.

Dr Pepper Dark Berry in Glass

I had a hard time even deciding if it tasted more than just a sweeter regular Dr Pepper, but the linger of the “fruit” additive started to take over. It was definitely “berry,” but which?

The answer, while not in the ingredients, can be easily found online, I just wanted to guess first.

I locked in on possibly blueberry…and black cherry?

SPOILER ALERT – Spider-man kills Than…Relax, that one guy, I’m just messing with you.

The titular “dark berries” are blackberry, black currant, and black cherry.

I hate to be swayed, but it made perfect sense. I realized it tasted like three-parts Dr Pepper mixed with one-part Cherry Coke, or like one of those old-timey Boylan’s style Black Cherry sodas you always see in Jewish Delis and trendy bagel joints.

So, while it’s not really that “far from” regular Dr Pepper’s normal flavor, it’s still worth a few sips.

Is there anything else you need to know?

Dr Pepper Dark Berry Ticket Deal

While I’ve seen some Spidey characters (particularly Mysterio for obvious reasons) popping up on promotional cans, I managed to buy the lamest bottle ever. Although, there is a movie ticket deal on the label, so that’s kinda cool.

Conclusion:

Dark Berry is the Andrew Garfield of Dr Pepper flavor variants. It’s still pretty good, but probably too saccharine, and will ultimately be forgotten. There have been superior Spider-men and Dr Peppers.

I look forward to Mr. Pibb’s collaboration with DC.

Purchased Price: $1.99
Size: 20 fl. oz.
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 Bottle) 260 calories, 0 grams of fat, 95 milligrams of sodium, 71 grams of carbohydrates, 70 grams of sugar, and less than 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Burger King Dr Pepper Shake

Burger King Dr Pepper Shake

I, Vin, know all of Dr Pepper’s 23 flavors.

I know em all, and I’m ready to tell the world. I’m not afraid anymore. What are they gonna do, sue me? Arrest me? Bust into my house, incapacitate me, take me away in a black van and finish this blog post pretending to be me, while never actually telling you guys the 23 flavors? Pff, I’d like to see them try. They don’t have the guts.

So without further ado, here are the 23 flavors that go into every batch of Dr Pepper.

Cola

Cherry

Vanilla

(knocking at the door)

Ah, come on! Gimmie a sec, someone’s banging on my door. I’ll be back before you can say “Dr Pepper’s deepest darkest secret.”

I’m back. It was just a…vacuum salesman. Yup, just a boring, non-threatening salesman.

I know you’re anxious to read your best pal Vin’s review of Burger King’s new Dr Pepper shake…and this is most definitely Vin.

Where was I?

Burger King Dr Pepper Shake 2

This shake is nothing to look at. It’s just tan. A few syrup ribbons of dark red would have been nice, but I have to imagine that was deliberate on Burger King and Dr Pepper’s part. They don’t need to win you over with flashy colors. It’s not like they’re Surge.

Ever walk into a bakery after a fresh batch of amaretto cookies are brought out? It’s an amazing almond smell with a hint of cherry in some cases. That’s what this shake smells like.

As far as the flavor goes, here’s a very specific taste for you to imagine. Have you ever gotten a vanilla shake with whipped cream and a maraschino cherry on top, but just let those ingredients sink to the bottom? You know those last few pinkish sips of vanilla infused with the juice runoff from the cherry? That’s what this tasted like. Vin likey.

Burger King Dr Pepper Shake 3

The Dr Pepper you know and love is definitely there, but it’s more subtle than you’d expect. It punches through a bit more once the shake starts to liquefy, but that’s only on the last few sips as this holds its texture well. Dr Pepper may have 23 amazing flavors, but I really only tasted the cherry and vanilla, which is totally fine. In fact, don’t even worry about the other 21 flavors, they don’t concern you, and trying to figure them out will not end well for you…or anyone for that matter.

Moving on…

Some shakes are so cloying they’re tough to finish. That isn’t the case here. The Dr Pepper Shake is delicious from the first sip to the last.

People like to write Burger King off, but they’ve been crushing it with menu items like this. They’re trying to offer innovative choices as of late, excelling mostly with their drinks. Here’s hoping they expand on this concept and blend up more sodas into shakes. I mean, they’ll probably be good, but not Dr Pepper good.

In conclusion, Mr. Pibb worships Satan. Drink Dr Pepper.

(Nutrition Facts – 12 fl oz – 330 calories, 90 calories from fat, 10 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 40 milligrams of cholesterol, 250 milligrams of sodium, 52 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams dietary fiber, 44 grams of sugar, and 8 grams of protein..)

Item: Burger King Dr Pepper Shake
Purchased Price: $3.19
Size: Small (12 oz.)
Purchased at: Burger King
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Great cherry/vanilla flavor. Olfactory satisfaction. Perfect shake consistency. Maraschino cherry flavor without the plastic fruit. Burger King owning the shake game. Doctorate degrees.
Cons: Secretive recipes. Dr. Pepper flavor could have been somewhat stronger. Super thick shakes. Home invasions. Mr. Pibb.

REVIEW: Limited Edition Dr Pepper Vanilla Float

Limited Edition Dr Pepper Vanilla Float

Hello, everyone. I’m very sorry I was gone for so long, but it’s good to be back!

If summer could talk, that’s what I imagine it saying, anyway. It was a brutally cold winter that also lasted roughly 11 years for large portions of the U.S., so the warm weather we’ve all been experiencing these last few weeks is more than welcome for you and I, but even more so for marketers.

Every summer you know to expect the lawn care and iced beverage ads, and car dealerships start pointing out your inalienable right to independently choose whatever Nissan you’d like for no money down at signing your John Hancock, at prices that are practically free(dom).

Be that as it may, the colder it is, the less you feel like standing outside in your parka to grill up some elk and watch the kids break icicles off the sprinkler. So you can bet that like every food company but Swiss Miss, Dr Pepper was glad to see Frozen finally exit theaters and our lawns simultaneously. In fact, they’re SO excited they’ve released a limited edition variety of their famous product: Dr Pepper Vanilla Float.

Limited Edition Dr Pepper Vanilla Float Closeup

As is no doubt obvious from the pictures, the can basically IS summer. You got your sunglasses, flip-flops, grill tools, surfboard, fireworks, plus an Uncle Sam hat because this soda wants YOU to drink it. Don’t like it? Eff off, this is ‘Murica. There’s also some backstroke flags to remind you of when you forgot how many strokes it is to the wall and slammed into it headfirst. Or maybe that was just me, but luckily there were no long-term side elephants.

I actually haven’t had a Dr Pepper since about high school, either five years ago in my mind or sixteen by the calendar. Never drank it after that because it tasted too much like Cherry Coke, but I was eager to revisit it for this review. Popping open the tab wafts up a hint of vanilla and cherry — the smell isn’t overpowering or unpleasant, but it’s certainly noticeable… though, it must be said, far more cherry than vanilla.

And unfortunately, that carries over to the taste as well. Oh, it tastes like Dr Pepper — granting I haven’t sampled the good doctor since Bill Clinton’s first term, but this is exactly how I remember it tasting. And, well, that’s the problem, because I believe there was some mention of vanilla? You certainly wouldn’t know it from a casual swig. Or a concentrated one, for that matter. It tastes fine (assuming you like regular Dr Pepper), but that’s all you’re getting.

But hey, maybe I’m just an outlier. In the interest of journalistic integrity I drafted my wife to try a can. She reported thinking she smelled and tasted a liiiittle bit of vanilla, but very mild. Whether there’s a slight “Emperor’s New Clothes” syndrome going on there is for you to decide, but we both agreed that by no means is there enough vanilla taste in this soda to justify its name. “A batch of Dr Pepper we accidentally spilled a bottle of vanilla extract into,” maybe, but certainly not “Vanilla Float.”

Unfortunately there’s not much else to say: you should buy this soda if you like Dr Pepper, but don’t go in expecting any kind of radically different experience. Unlike Vanilla Coke, where there was no mistaking it for a can of the original, I could easily see someone being served this in a cup and not even realizing it isn’t the regular stuff. As is, the can is more interesting than its contents; and if you want a Dr Pepper Vanilla Float, be sure to have some ice cream on hand.

(Nutrition Facts – 12 ounces – 160 calories, 0 grams of total fat, 55 milligrams of sodium, 43 grams of total carbohydrates, 41 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.)

Item: Limited Edition Dr Pepper Vanilla Float
Purchased Price: $4.99
Size: 12-pack
Purchased at: Acme
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: It is a pretty fun can, as… soda cans go, I guess. Didn’t cost a ton. My wife has a new beverage to enjoy for the next couple weeks. If you like regular Dr Pepper (or Cherry Coke), you’re in luck!
Cons: Could’ve just said “We wanted an excuse to use these cool cans our design guys came up with, but all our batches were already made.” Vanilla really would’ve helped cut that strong fruit flavor. The idea that it’s called Dr Pepper because it was originally marketed as a laxative is, sadly, just an urban legend. Revisiting high school relationships is never very satisfying (er, so I’ve heard).