Did you know that there is a tiny bottling facility in Dublin, Texas, that has consistently made Dr Pepper with cane sugar and never dabbled with high fructose corn syrup as virtually every other bottler of every other soft drink has done? It is also the oldest DP bottler in the world. It is tiny and quaint and still produces a product that people around here love. I have included some photos at the end of this post from our recent visit to the plant. They also bottle Big Red, and some other soda classics. But, a real Dublin Dr Pepper is a treat. You drink it slow, out of a cold bottle, and meditate on it in much the same way that oenophiles get all glazed over about a rare wine. A Dublin Dr Pepper is special. I don’t know if it tastes different because we actually slow down and taste it, or because it is just one of those small batch delicacies that makes one feel special for being in on the secret.
Of course, if you are from or love Texas then Dr Pepper also has the added value of being a local star. It was invented in Waco, Texas and will always be thought of as one of those iconic Texas products like Fritos or Blue Bell Ice Cream. C’mon, you know you love Frito chili pie!
Notable chef and Texas favorite, Jon Bonnell of Fort Worth did not invent the Dublin Float, but he definitely celebrates it in his great Cookbook, Fine Texas Cuisine. Among such stunners as Tequila-Flamed Quail and Grits or Venison Carpaccio, you will also find sweet treasures like Tres Leches Crème Brulee and this simple delight, Dublin Dr Pepper Floats.
I have miniaturized the floats into a “shot glass.” A shot glass is laughably small under the circumstances. The pictured glasses are actually votive glasses. If the store calls them “tasting” glasses they cost $3 each. If they call them “votives” they cost $1. I bought a bunch of these votive size glasses for these sorts of treats because my 7 year old daughter needs a beer mug of DP and ice cream after dinner like she needs that jet pack she’s been asking for. Same effect, actually. But this little size is great for kids. If you are a grown up, by all means make this in a quart size Ball jar or any other inappropriately large and wonderful container.
|Dublin Dr Pepper Floats with Cinnamon Cookies|| |
- 4 flour tortillas
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- ½ tablespoon cinnamon
- vegetable oil
- 4 cups vanilla ice cream
- 4 cups Dublin Dr Pepper
- To make the little cookies, cut out shapes from the flour tortillas using small cookie cutters. In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of sugar and ½ tablespoon of ground cinnamon. Pour about an inch of vegetable oil in a cast iron skillet and heat it to 350 degrees. Meanwhile, prepare to fry by laying out a brown paper bag to which you will remove the cookies and sugar them.
- When the oil reaches 350 degrees, place the tortilla cut outs into the oil. Do this in several batches to avoid crowding. After about 1 minute flip the cookies using the tongs. Be prepared to remove them as soon as they are golden on both sides. Be aware that these go from perfect to burned in about 10 seconds…another good reason to work in small batches.
- As soon as you move them to the paper, sprinkle them on both sides with A LOT of the sugar. Repeat this process until you have made all you of your cookies.
- To make a Dublin Dr Pepper float, place ice cream in each of four glasses. Pour Dr Pepper over each. Serve with the cookies.
I must insist that, if you are able to get it, you use Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla.
Serve the cookies and floats together and smile a lot. You really will.
Obviously you can save yourself a lot of trouble by skipping the cookie bit, but they are tasty little dudes.
If you want to learn more about Dublin Dr Pepper, visit their official Dublin Dr Pepper Website. We took a little road trip last spring break and went to the plant with the kids. There is a little soda fountain and sandwich shop, and you can take a quick tour of the plant. If you are lucky you will be there when they are actually bottling. If you are a local, plan your weekend with a drive through Hico and a visit to the Glenrose State Park…there are big dinosaur footprints in the riverbeds that are wonderful to see. If you go to Hico, you must must must go to the Western Otter shop on Pecan Street. It is one of the cutest little stores in the entire state. It is the creation of Michel and Jennifer Wurth and they have designed it in a dreamy retro fashion with flying bouncy horses on the walls and a curiosity at every turn of the eye. I could knock out my entire Christmas list in about 5 minutes, but stay in this one little shop for hours. Downtown Hico is speckled with great little shops.
Regarding Jon Bonnell’s cookbook…if you have a husband, wife, kid or friend that hunts or just likes to cook in a uniquely Texan style, this is a great gift. It is a pretty cookbook that you (or they) will actually use. You can tell the holidays are creeping up because I’m thinking about gift ideas for cooks.
Another really great cookbook in the same vein is Grazing Across Texas by noted wildlife and outdoor photographer Tosh Brown. It has recipes from some of the best lodges, dives, and haunts in the state. It is also a must if you have a hunter/cook in your life. I made Shrimp Ceviche from that one which is out of this world.
Oh no, I almost forgot. As part of their 125th anniversary Dr Pepper is putting out an all sugar version of DP all across the country. If you can’t get your hands on any Dublin DP, look for the retro cans or the bottles marked made with Imperial Sugar.
The notes section reads exactly like it must feel trying to get off the phone with me. I say goodbye three times and each time think of some slightly related thing I just must say. You must be exhausted.
update: Dublin DP is no more. RIP Dublin Dr Pepper. Long live Dublin Bottling Works.