Can’t Fix Perfect, But We Taste Tested Dr Pepper’s New Strawberries & Cream Anyway

“Why?” That’s the first thought that popped into my brain when a 12-pack of Strawberries & Cream-flavored Dr Pepper slid into Target’s soda aisle.

This wasn’t a cynical “Why?” that immediately dismissed the idea. Rather a contemplative “Why” that asked, “Why do we need more Dr Pepper flavors when we’ve got actual Dr Pepper?”

Soda is my wine, except it doesn’t get me drunk and belching is encouraged because it’s a sign of quality. Dr Pepper is something I view with a great deal of pride. While it may be a global brand, it started in Texas and creates a flavor by which all of its imitators are measured. Dr Pepper is its own flavor in the way “Coke” is Coke, “Big Red” is Big Red and “Mountain Dew” is tart jolt water.

Every Dr Pepper starts out with the look and feel of a Coca-Cola but as the liquid moves across your tongue, it delivers a mix of cherry, licorice and caramel.

Dr Pepper recently added Strawberries & Cream to its permanent lineup, and since cream soda already works with the flavor profile, it’s off to a halfway encouraging start.

In a taste test, the strawberry pairs on par with the cream: Both are present but they don’t dominate your attention. The fruit doesn’t assault your senses with sweetness, which even the ripest strawberries won’t do, and the cream backs it up nicely. This flavor isn’t better than Dr Pepper’s original, but it’s damn close.

I also tried two older flavors that are now in regular rotation including Dr Pepper & Cream Soda, and Cherry Dr Pepper.

The idea of cherry Dr Pepper kind of makes sense: Cherry has always been the most dominant flavor of all 23 of its claimed mix of flavors. The cherry version tastes good, but in this case, the fruit overpowers the signature flavor of a Dr Pepper.

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The cream soda flavor complements the original Dr Pepper flavor.

Lauren Drewes Daniels

The Dr Pepper & Cream Soda pair together better than the cherry. The original Dr Pepper flavor is pronounced, but the creamy texture complements it rather than pushing it out of the way. It starts with Dr Pepper but finishes with this velvety layer of well-balanced vanilla.

Unlike other brands that throw every flavor at the wall in hopes that one of them will make us want to stick in it in our mouths, Dr Pepper is off to a very encouraging start. 


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