Posted by: Erica Retrochef | March 4, 2009

Hot Dr Pepper

In early March, it is SUPPOSED to be something like 60 degrees; instead, we had a snow day yesterday. (It’s worth noting that a “snow day” in South Carolina simply indicates that there was a prediction for a chance of snow greater than 50%, and so the entire region panicked and closed the schools. You should see them when it actually snows. I shouldn’t laugh, but come on, folks — must you act like flurries are not a sign of the End Times?) In that spirit, I decided to go with a warm winter drink this week. Via the charming recipes of, we bring you…

Winter Warmer: HOT Dr Pepper

(Depending on what region of the country you’re from, this could be Hot Soda, Hot Pop, or Hot Coke.)


Clever people who enjoy something different–-devilishly different and delicious–-will welcome this exciting Winter Warmer . . . Hot Dr Pepper! Easy to prepare-–simply heat Dr Pepper in a saucepan until it steams and pour into a glass or cup over a slice of lemon. Perfect for the family or when friends drop in-–and take along a thermos of Hot Dr Pepper when enjoying outdoor activities. Hot Dr Pepper–-the distinctive Winter Warmer!

Seriously, doesn’t this read like a crazy marketing stunt? Hmmm, our sales drop off in winter months when everyone’s too cold to want a nice iced soft drink… let’s encourage them to HEAT it instead! I’ve had warm soda, and it wasn’t a taste which made me want it to be even warmer.

But I’m willing to give it a fair shot. Let’s see, how did that recipe go again… ah yes:

Boiling Dr Pepper

(1) boil Dr Pepper, and

Hot Dr Pepper -- with lemon

(2) drink it. 😛

To give other soft drinks equal opportunity to shine, I tried the same recipe with Cheerwine. It’s a local beverage (produced by the Carolina Beverage Corporation, making it just as Southern as Coca Cola) that Buzz calls a Dr Pepper knock-off, but is actually more cherry and less cola. (The company calls the flavor “unbridled deliciousness”, which is not all that descriptive.)

Hot Cheerwine -- with lemon

And the verdict? There’s a reason this idea never caught on. The kindest description I can manage is “drinkable”; I finished it, but I won’t ever make it again. Both ended up tasting like bad (albeit sweet) tea. It was quite fruity; the cola flavors of the Dr Pepper were basically gone, although it did still have a more caramel flavor than the ultra-cherry Cheerwine. If you’ve ever had Celestial Seasoning’s Red Zinger (or any raspberry-based herbal tea), then you’ve got the general idea. The lemon wedge was vital for making the drink palatable. I must admit though, it was much better than drinking warm soda — but not nearly as good as an icy cold soda. The fizziness just isn’t there after it’s been boiled!

Stick with a nice cup of cocoa for winter drinking.


  1. I thought the Dr Pepper took to this treatment a lot better than the Cheerwine. The former was much like Red Zinger, which I like; I downed a whole mug of it. The latter I found unbearably sweet and fruity; even with the lemon, I couldn’t stomach more than a couple sips.

  2. And I preferred the Cheerwine 😆 So it’s really a hit-or-miss drink…

  3. My mom enjoyed Diet Dr. Pepper warmed on the stove, (pre-microwave). As kids, we always mocked this choice. Somewhere around here, I have a “Cooking with Dr. Pepper” cookbook which was surprised to see this serving suggestion in it. I though mom invented it!

  4. Once again I commend you for trying something that most would dismiss out of hand, Erica! Re: dirtsister’s comment…I seem to remember having some kind of Dr. Pepper-based cake at one point that was actually pretty good. I may have to try to track that recipe down…

  5. I’m hysterical right now, you have no idea. I roasted a chicken the other day with a can of Dr. Pepper. I have one of those contraptions where you sit the chicken on the can and then roast it sitting up….oh my I’m not sure I will make it through this comment…talk about Hot Dr. Pepper. The chicken wasn’t as fizzy as I had hoped. We don’t have cheerwine here. Perhaps, I’ll try Red Zinger next!!! I’m stilling laughing:)

  6. You are SO brave. I love Dr. Pepper, but I’m not sure about it hot. I sent this to my hubby, who hates Dr. Pepper (I know, he’s weird) and he was less than enthusiastic! Good luck with the hot dog Jell-O! Your site is fabulous, I’m adding you to my Google Reader. Keep up the great work!

  7. Ewwwww! Dr. Pepper is my favorite softdrink of all time, but I don’t think I EVER want to try drinking it hot! Thanks for the review — you’re a very brave woman. 🙂

  8. Me talk pretty some day.

  9. Remember my mom making this once when I was growing up. She (or I ) never made it it again. I hadnt thought about it in years until I seen this. I just don think the idea ever really took off.

  10. There is a taste difference between the HFCS-sweetened Dr. Pepper and the stuff they still make in Dublin, Tx with real sugar, especially when heated. My dad would make me Hot Dr. Pepper on cold Dallas afternoons when I was little.

  11. monty nails it (except that he mistakenly added a period in the name) — if you’re not using sugar-based Dr Pepper, you’re not tasting it like you should.

  12. Try not boiling the Dr. Pepper, you are just supposed to heat it until it starts to steam. with a little lemon it is good for a sore throat. My mom used to do that for me.

  13. Back in the 70’s my grandfather used to work for the University of Texas, I spent many a cold New Years Day in the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. They would sell Hot Dr Pepper by the gallon, more so than hot chocolate or coffee

  14. They served hot dr pepper at the Stutler Bowl stadium in englewood Co. when i was in high school. It came from a dr pepper logo’d machine. Wish i had one at my house. Great winter drink.

  15. I have been drinking hot DP with lemon from way back in the sixties as a common cold and flu fighter. And it works….

  16. Did you ever see the movie “Blast from the Past” with Brendan Frasier and Alicia Silverstone? His father drinks this every day. 🙂 I thought the movie people in Hollywood made it up!

  17. You absolutely must use Dr. Pepper made with cane sugar, then you heat it carefully below the boiling point, and you use a thin round slice of lemon floated on the top.

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