Friday, October 9, 2009

Just What The Doctor Ordered

Is it possible to be in love with a soft drink? I think it is.

Most of the soft drinks I remember as a kid were sweetened with sugar. Then, as soft drink manufacturers sought a cheaper sweetener, sugar went by the wayside, and in came high-fructose corn syrup.

The word “fructose” does not even sound appealing to me. While it’s possible to look out over a sugar cane field and take a stalk of sugar cane and chew the natural sugar out of it, the same cannot be said with high-fructose corn syrup. And yes, I know what you’re thinking. You can look out over a field of corn. Okay, fine. But now take that ear of corn (let’s hope it is not feed corn) and chew whatever it is you want out of it. Do you want that taste in your soft drink? I thought not. Hey, I like sweet corn, but let’s enjoy it with butter and salt.

In my opinion, most soft drink flavors deteriorated when fructose replaced sugar. There is one drink; however, that did not cave to economic considerations, and has faithfully remained true to its original flavor, Dublin Dr Pepper.

Dr Pepper was born in Texas in the 1800s, and when the soft drink manufacturers began migrating to fructose in the latter half of the 20th Century, Dr Pepper followed suit. All except for a couple of bottling plants, including one located in Dublin, Texas. It refused to move away from cane sugar. Thus, Dublin Dr Pepper was born. It now proudly promotes its usage of “Imperial Pure Cane Sugar” on its bottle and cans.

The taste of this pure cane sugar in Dublin Dr Pepper is discernable. It seems, in my opinion, to really highlight the fruity flavors of the drink. And, unfortunately, for almost everyone around the planet, you can’t get Dublin Dr Pepper unless you order it directly from the bottling plant, given its geographical distribution restrictions. However, here in South Central Texas, there is no problem finding a cold one to enjoy. In some places, they even have it on tap.

There is a resurgence, as of late, for soft drinks with sugar as a sweetener instead of fructose. I’ve recently seen lesser known brands in the stores as well as a highly prominent brand, bottled in Mexico, which uses sugar. You can guess as well as I the reasons for this new interest in sugar-sweetened drinks.

Meanwhile, I think I’m in love with a certain soft drink bottled in Dublin, Texas. Discretion is always best, of course. Please don’t tell my wife of my sweet and sugary relationship as I enjoy a drink with this famous Texas Doctor, Dublin's very own, Dr Pepper.

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