Hot Dr Pepper with Lemon: The Ultimate Texas Cold Weather Drink

Categories: Beverages

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When I was in college, Dr Pepper ruled our campus (and so did Drayton McLane, but that's a story for another day). No, seriously. It became the official soft drink of Baylor back in 1997. And along with it came Dr Pepper Hour, formerly Coke Hour.

Baylor University isn't just renowned for being the largest Baptist university in the world (along with all the questionable behaviors and eccentricities that accompany that title). It's also known for its weekly Dr Pepper Hour, where the president of the university (hey, that's Ken Starr now! wonder how he's holding up....) enjoys Dr Pepper floats with students for an hour or two at the Student Union Building.

Just to dispel any misunderstandings that this is a hip, happening event, let me be clear: Crystal bowls filled with ice cream and Dr Pepper are served in the ultra-WASPy Barfield Drawing Room where you can drink your float while sitting uncomfortably in a wingback chair that's been there since the 1950s or attempt to mingle with stiff personalities like the aforementioned President Starr, who probably doesn't give two shits about the thesis some 19-year-old kid is writing for the Honors College.

The only good thing to come out of this? Hot Dr Pepper.

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I first tasted this beverage at a winter Dr Pepper Hour and fell in love.

Hot Dr Pepper is exactly what it sounds like: heated up Dr Pepper, served in a mug. You can garnish with a lemon slice, which I strongly recommend. The plummy taste of the soda takes on a mead-like quality when heated and the beverage tastes oddly alcoholic, like a hot toddy sans the hooch. Of course, this might be one of the many reasons the drink is so popular at alcohol-free Baylor University.

Another reason, of course, is that it gets as cold as a witch's tit on the Central Texas plains during winter, and hot Dr Pepper is easier to make in a dorm room than even coffee or hot chocolate. Especially when you haven't ventured out to the Walmart in a week and you're living out of the vending machine in the basement...

According to Dr Pepper's official website, hot Dr Pepper has been around much longer than Dr Pepper Hour:

Hot Dr Pepper was developed many years ago as a refreshing winter drink. Heat Dr Pepper in a saucepan to 180 degrees, place a thin slice of lemon in the bottom of a coffee mug or insulated cup and pour the heated Dr Pepper over the lemon.

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But this wasn't good enough. I wanted more information on how this winter treat originally came about, so I called the Dr Pepper Museum in Waco and spoke with Mary Beth Tate, collections manager for the museum.

"Dr Pepper is the only major soft drink that's had a successful hot campaign," she told me.

"They first came out with it in the early 1960s. The mascot for it was a little devil, and there's a story goes along with it: a route salesman suggested it because it was so cold while delivering Dr Pepper in the winter months. Like a lot of legends, we don't really know if it's true."

Anecdotal evidence, like these comments on a Boing Boing post from 2007, hot Dr Pepper confirms that it was mostly a Dr Pepper invention, although it seems to have been around as a classic Texas treat since at least the 1950s, being served at events such as Little League games in the winter months.

And the many vintage ads for hot Dr Pepper seem to indicate that the Dr Pepper company itself invented the beverage as a cold weather application for its soda, which I imagine most consumers weren't terribly interested in during the winter. During this time, the advertising slogan for Dr Pepper was "I like it! It's different!" And the hot Dr Pepper campaign fit into this nicely, according to Tate: "The slogan was 'It's devilishly different.'" An edgy ad campaign from a Texas company back then, to be sure.

Advertisements and commercials for the drink reached their peak in the mid-1960s, and it seems as though hot Dr Pepper has been on a bit of a downhill slide since then, as most people I've mentioned it to have never heard of it.

Tate, who admitted that she was perhaps too close to the issue to say whether or not it had slid in popularity over the years, said that it was certainly still popular in Waco. "I'm so used to it being around," she said. "We serve it during the winter at our soda fountain and it's still a holiday favorite in predominately Southern families."

So let's revive an old classic this winter. Heat up some Dr Pepper on the stove, pour it in a mug over a lemon slice and enjoy. And since I'm not at Baylor anymore, I can tell you this: It also tastes great with a shot of bourbon.


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29 comments
CrazyKwistin
CrazyKwistin

Lol cold as a witch's tit. Then you should definitely add a shot of whiskey to it ;-) I just wrote about Hot Dr. Pepper and someone tweeted me this article. Had to reply. We've been drinking it as a family tradition since I was a kid t but I love the look on people's faces when I mention it or better yet serve it. My favorite tweet yet "What Mad scientist invented this..." https://kwistinsfavorites.wordpress.com/2012/10/14/sundaysupper-hot-dr-pepper-with-lemon-familytradition-comfortfood/

 

MudFunk
MudFunk

Folks, you gotta throw a stick of cinnamon into your hot DP. Trust me, it's delicious (and, as Katharine notes, even better with bourbon). No comment on Baptists; as a recovering Catholic, I try to stay as far away from organized religion as possible. Rock on, Buzz.

Buzz Daly
Buzz Daly

Hey everybody. New Poster jumpin' up from Monterey Bay in Cali.

However, I did attend the UT Austin Jernalism Skool many decades ago so I do know Texas a bit and my Son was born at Carswell AFB.

Happened on this space by accident and found the comments rather interesting.

Having been raised by FreeWill Baptists in S.E. Oklahoma (it didn't take), I was very amused by the topic and Mr. Lewis' strident reaction about Baptists.

I think they're good folks overall but can be a bit judgmental at times perhaps.

And, as a 49ers fan, everyone knows Mike Singletary, former Coach, was a Baylor Alum. He used to wear a big cross all the time and was a great example of a good Baptist in my view.

(Just for your information, I'm a really far left liberal non-Believer who advocates for Medical Marijuana, support of Unions and the American Worker and am anti-Big Biz outsourcing of American jobs to Commies and a return to when America stood for Liberty, Freedom, and making America #1, not enabling Commie Dicktaters. I am also a 10 year Veteran of the US Army and served 1 and 1/2 tours in 'Nam but I digress. I hope you like me.)

If y'all are interested I might provide some interesting Cali views to your forum. Go Bears!

[IMG]http://i293.photobucket.com/al...[/IMG]

Don't know it I can post pics or not.

He sucked as a Coach though.

trisch
trisch

I'll have to give this a try. When I was living in China, one of the drinks a lot of the hipster hangouts were serving was hot Coco-Cola with a slice of ginger -- a riff on traditional ginger tea, which is made by steeping fresh ginger in hot sugar syrup made from either rock sugar or some kind of dark brown sugar.

Bruce R
Bruce R

With a drink this festive you might want to hand out free condoms with it. Just to be safe.

Meriwether Lewis
Meriwether Lewis

"Baylor University isn't just renowned for being the largest Baptist university in the world (along with all the questionable behaviors and eccentricities that accompany that title)."

Exactly what the fuck is this supposed to mean?

Shastagetsabadrap
Shastagetsabadrap

Sounds like a good remedy for a sore throat. If I substitute with Dr. K, would that make it a generic?

Yumyum
Yumyum

When I was a kid they would sell hot Dr. Pepper at Texas Stadium when it was cold.

Jim Ayres
Jim Ayres

I remember ads for this, though we never tried it in our Coca-Cola only family. I imagine Dr. Pepper made with real sugar would work best. Wonder if HFCS affects the taste?

Fatty FatBastard
Fatty FatBastard

Life-long Texan and I've never heard of anyone doing this. I may try one tonight.

John Seaborn Gray
John Seaborn Gray

Does it matter if I microwave it instead of heating it on the stove?

redonthehead1
redonthehead1

I'm wondering if it's more of a generational thing than a Texan thing. I was a kid in Dallas in the 60's and it was common then. I always assumed it was a part of the 1960's tastelessness with the horrendous canned soup casseroles and everything that would sit still being encapsulated in gelatin.

Kyle
Kyle

Meriwether, I attended East Texas Baptist University in Marshall TX, and I can attest to questionable behaviors and eccentricities at a Texas Baptist school. "Ring by Spring", they'd say...and they were right. A huge number of people were engaged after the first semester. Dancing was not allowed and there was all sorts of other nonsense. It's not really bigoted to say that Baptist schools, at least in Texas, have their eccentricities.

Meriwether Lewis
Meriwether Lewis

@redonthehead1 - Yeah, I need to lighten up. I'll remember that next time I hear someone casually referring to people as niggers, or painting other religions, say the Jews, or the Muslims, in broad, bigoted strokes. I'll just say to myself "Self, remember, you just need to lighten up and not get upset when people denigrate and dehumanize groups of people based on their religion or their race. Remember what redonthehead1 told you!"

PS: I'm not a girl, and I'm going to assume you refer to me as such in a juvenile attempt to anger me. That's unsuprising coming from someone who defends religious bigotry, but your defense of said bigotry is quite enough to raise my hackles, so don't waste your time bothering with the immature attempts at insult.

@katharine - I see from the letters section that your paper has recently also deemed it fitting to use the racial pejorative "jipped", so clearly you're not the only bigot working for the press. Your flippant response and justification of your vile remarks makes it clear that you don't seem to think your casual expression of bigotry is a big deal, but let me ask you what you think would happen if you'd written this:

"Texas Southern Univeristy isn't just renowned for being the largest black university in the city (along with all the questionable behaviors and eccentricities that accompany that title)...."

or this

"Meredith College isn't just renowned for being the largest women's college in the Southeast (along with all the questionable behaviors and eccentricities that accompany that title)...."

That's right, your journalism career would likely come to an abrupt end. But hey, it's ok for you to bash all Baptists because a few you went to school with didn't impress you, right?

redonthehead1
redonthehead1

Are you not acquainted with the Baptist religion and it's "limitations" and dogma??

bibulb
bibulb

I was wondering the same thing - I'd assume that YOU'D BETTER USE DUBLIN for this.

(Then again, I'm generally of that opinion, so take that as you will.)

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

Not particularly. I usually microwaved mine...dorm living and all. But I do recommend the lemon. Heating the Dr Pepper makes it lose some of its pop (carbonation is lost) but the citrus of the lemon brings it back to life.

Johnny Prozac
Johnny Prozac

Slow up Red!! I'm a Baylor Alum, and put two of my girls through Baylor. Strongly suggest you add two shots of Bourbon to your Dr. Pepper.. My advice is to start drinking heavily...

redonthehead1
redonthehead1

Help me understand how one can be "bigoted" against one self. Seriously. If Katharine went to Baylor then she is clearly being self-denigrating if she makes fun of Baylor. Now, back away from the Red Bull and go take your meds....you've clearly been off them for FAR too long.

Wyatt
Wyatt

Because being born into a gender or race, and choosing a religion, are the same thing.

Your logic sucks AND you're no fun. Want to grab a beer sometime?

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

I mean, 'cause seriously, at what point in the post did I "denigrate" or "dehumanize" Baptists? I think you need a mug of hot Dr Pepper. With lemon.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

I know this wasn't your intention, but now I can't stop giggling imagining any hijinks that would ensue from "the questionable behaviors and eccentricities" found at "the largest women's college in the Southeast."

Meriwether Lewis
Meriwether Lewis

Are you not acquainted with a little word called "bigotry?"

redonthehead1
redonthehead1

Methinks Meriwether needs to catch up on his/her meds. What a bizarre and loony rant. Wow!!

Wyatt
Wyatt

You didn't. Meriwether is either trolling or way off base.

redonthehead1
redonthehead1

Someone needs to lighten up. Dang, girl, you got your panties in a knot today? Good Lord.

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