Saturday, 1 October 2011

Dr.Pepper Vanilla

Dr Pepper, the only drink with the qualifications to practice medicine, is without a doubt the most divisive soft drink on the planet. You either love it or hate it, and when I say love I mean crazy want to marry it and have little carbonated bastard offspring love, and when I say I hate I mean kill it with fire hate.

There is no middle ground when it comes to people’s opinion of Dr Pepper and this has lead to many problems for fans of the drink. Countless friendships have been destroyed arguing about its merits, relationships have fallen apart and recent research shows that 33% of all divorces are due to Pepper related conflict (this is a lie). There has even been Pepper problems on a global scale; Iraq? That’s because of Dr Pepper, Israel? Yep Pepper, Northern Ireland? They only sorted that out with strict Pepper legislation.

What is it about the nature of Dr P that causes such a division of opinion? It could be the flavour, it has a unique taste that’s hard to define and if you ask a fan what it tastes like they can only really describe it in relation to other drinks. The packaging is no help either, people like clearly labelled drinks so they know what they are in for, with Pepper the only clue you get on the back is ‘fruit flavoured carbonated drink’. Then there’s the ambiguous name, I mean what does ‘Dr Pepper’ tell you about the drink? Does it taste like pepper? I used to think this as a kid and have to admit it put me off.

All of these factors could be off putting to an over cautious or unadventurous soda drinker. ( Although this doesn’t explain the absolute hate that some people have for the drink, which remains a mystery.

At this point before I start the review I feel it’s only appropriate that I clarify my position on the Pepper conflict as there is no way this is going to be an unbiased article. I adore Doctor Pepper, everyone here at Fizzness does, we are Pep people and that is that.

My relationship with Dr Pepper goes back a long time, I still remember trying it for the first time when I was about 15 (I’d like to say I had long before got over the fear of it tasting like actual pepper but I wasn’t that bright) I remember getting a soda rush so intense that it triggered an emotional response I had never felt for a drink before, and that emotion was love. I then embarked on what was essentially a ten year long Dr Pepper rampage were no other soft drink ever really got a look in, sure I dabbled but I always came back, I’d found my baby and I would never cheat.

What had started as an occasional treat would gradually over time become part of my daily routine. I would drink Pepper everyday and many great memories I have of this period of my life have Pepper involved at some point.

A few years ago something happened that changed the relationship, I’d started to get itchy feet, the new love feeling had begun to wear off and I began seeing other soft drinks. I couldn’t quite work out where things had broken down, maybe we had grown apart maybe we didn’t make enough time for each other but the relationship was on the rocks.

In reality the problem was that drinking Pepper every day meant that I had become hooked on its glorious flavour. But like a dirty junkie needing to shoot up everyday to function I was getting used to the Pepper feeling and was getting the buzz less and less. Every time I had a drink I was only really stopping the cravings and getting my levels up to a base point and I feared I would never feel that buzz again, forever chasing that feeling that got me hooked in the first place.

My first solution was to drastically cut back the amount I drank, I went cold turkey for months at a time counting down the days until I could have another bottle. This actually worked and the buzz I would get after drinking a bottle after a long period of abstinence was wonderful but even then my body soon got used to the less frequent intakes.

This is where I stand now, my relationship with Pep is at a crossroads. No soft drink since has ever reached those dizzy heights for me and I would dearly love to be able to feel that first taste kick I used to get, but I fear those days are long gone.

Until now.

Imported from the good old US of A (home of spacemen, gun crime and hobos) comes Cherry Vanilla Dr Pepper. If ever you wanted some extra flavours stuck on top of your Pep then its cherry and vanilla and believe me they go together oh so well (In fact in a blind taste test I’m willing to bet that a lot of people would think Pepper already has cherry and vanilla in it). Every sip is like a drop of nectar, tasting like something new and glorious but at the same time instantly recognisable as Dr Pepper. It’s so familiar yet so different and reminds me of the glory days of our relationship, long summer nights supping from a bottle avoiding homework eating Haribo and Refreshers and getting Colonel Cambell to scream ‘SNAAAAAAAKE’.

This drink is sublime, my old girl has tarted herself up in some new sexy gear and is ready to make this relationship work, and I’m all for it.

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