As a kid, I loved Dr Pepper. I don't drink soda much these days, but one sip of Dr Pepper takes me back to the soda machine at the Community Arts Center in Wallingford, PA, on break from a rehearsal or a making-fresh-bread-and-turning-it-into-art class.
But childhood adoration aside, I recently realized how little I know about Dr Pepper. For instance, what IS Dr Pepper? Who was Dr Pepper? And I also didn't know that the home of Dr Pepper is none other than Waco, TX, on the way to Austin from Ft. Worth.
So I decided to make a stop at the Dr Pepper Museum, determined to finally learn the secret behind the taste.
I learned nothing.
I did learn that it is definitely not prune flavor, as some have proposed. It is a combination of 23 flavors concocted in the late 19th century to reproduce the smell of the soda fountain, as told to me by the animatronic founder of Dr Pepper, Charles Alderton.
The name is also something of a mystery. Legend is that Charles Alderton was in love with a girl and wanted to impress her father, so Alderton named the drink after the man. Originally, it was known as a Waco.
Before getting back on the road, I had a really good Frosty Pepper: a vanilla ice cream float with Dr Pepper. At the museum's soda fountain, they make the drink with carbonated water and Dr Pepper syrup, with a couple puffs of compressed air. It was delish.