Hot Dr Pepper used to be a thing in Texas. According to The Dr Pepper Museum in Waco has the whole story on HOT Dr Pepper. Dr Pepper was created in Waco, Texas, in 1885 and, as such, is the oldest major soft drink brand in America.
How in the world did the HOT Dr Pepper fad get started? It all began in September of 1958, when Wesby R. Parker, President of Dr Pepper Company, had an idea to create a warm and comforting version of Dr Pepper. While visiting a bottling plant during a blizzard, one of the route salesmen joked that they needed a hot drink to sell during winter weather. This sparked an idea in Parker and he began to experiment in his kitchen. Through trial and error, he experimented until he found the perfect way to serve Dr Pepper warm. Dr Pepper simply needed to be heated to 180 degrees and poured over a thin slice of lemon to create this delicious and comforting concoction. Through his experiments, he determined that overheating the drink scorched it and ruined the Dr Pepper flavor and that a slice of lemon was important because it gave the flavor of the rind.
After finding the perfect formula for HOT Dr Pepper, Parker had to tell Dr Pepper Company employees of his discovery. Of course, his idea was received with hesitation. Who drinks hot soda? So many companies had marketed their drinks as cool and refreshing through the years that no one would think of turning a soda into something warm and comforting. Although there was some hesitation initially, after some taste tests at the Dr Pepper Company, employees soon realized they could quite possibly have a hit on their hands and an edge over other soda companies in the market. They began sampling the drink across the country and eventually after taste tests proved favorable, they began marketing the drink. They marketed the drink under the taglines “Devilishly Different” and “Winter Warmer”, which paved the way for it to be used as an alcoholic mixer. Rum became the favorite choice to mix with HOT Dr Pepper and was known as the “Schuss-Boomer”. HOT Dr Pepper proved to be the ideal beverage for cold weather and fit in nicely during winter holiday celebrations.
By the reactions we receive to the HOT Dr Pepper items on display, you would think that it was just a passing fad. However, this is not the case. From the time HOT Dr Pepper was introduced in the late 1950s, it proved favorable with taste testing and was a popular holiday drink well into the 1970s. And even though the drink became more obscure over time, HOT Dr Pepper merchandise was sold well into the 1990s. There have even been references to the drink in popular culture such as when it was included in the 1999 movie “Blast from the Past”. Today, loyal Peppers will still occasionally serve HOT Dr Pepper at holiday functions. So, if you have been to the museum and have seen the HOT Dr Pepper items or have just read this blog and become curious about what HOT Dr Pepper tastes like, why don’t you give it a try? You can even get one served up in our Soda Fountain if you want an authentic experience!