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Help me replace my Mom's Dr. Pepper... she's sad! :-(

My mom has been having stomach problems for a while now, and her doctor has linked part of the problem to her Dr. Pepper addiction, i.e. the caffeine. Which also means, no more of her favorite tea either. (She doesn't really like decaf, I've ordered her some white tea, so we'll see how she likes it.) She tried lemonade for a while, mixed with club soda, but she now thinks that the carbonation is part of the problem. Anyway, I'm having everyone over for dessert next Saturday for my brother's birthday and I'm hoping to make a couple of non-alcoholic drinks that will help her forget about her beloved Dr. Pepper! I've thought about doing lemonade of some sort, but I would like something a little more unusual. I'll probably have a couple of different selections and I was thinking of one of the kicked up waters that we talked about a while back (ginger and cucumber, orange and rosemary, etc.) for one of them. Any ideas everyone? Fellow caffeine addicts please help!

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  1. At least one of the diet Dr. Pepper flavors is available caffeine-free. You could always open it up a day or two in advance and let it go flat if the carbonation really is an issue.

    It won't help if acidity is part of the problem. Then again, neither will lemonade.

    1. I love lemonade and limeade. Adding mint to either is really good and refreshing. You could make some great flavored ice teas made with fruit teas. I love the Republic of Teas peach(decaf of course!) Or what about no carbonated fruit punch? There are so many great fresh fruits out there now.

      Lastly, for the long term you might want to think about a seltzer maker for her. I bought my husband the seltzer maker from soda club (http://www.sodaclubusa.com/) and they have a "Dr Pepper" flavor.

      (http://www.sodaclubusa.com/dietary_co...) which has a little less caffeine but she could make a weak version for herself as a once in a while treat. Probably not what the Dr. ordered but just a thought....

      Best to your mom! ;)

      1. You might look into the Monin syrups as an option for your mom. http://www.monin.com/us/en/syrups.htm...

        I don't know if any of these have the elusive Dr. Pepper flavor, and some do have caffeine, but you might find something that she enjoys (I love the espresso syrup with seltzer and a squeeze of lemon!) I see one called "spice berry" that might be promising.

        1. Someone recently mentioned a diet black cherry soda as a Dr. Pepper replacement. Dr. Brown's and Boylans are two brands that you might find in a local natural foods store (Whole Foods must have). The carbonation in Dr. Brown's sodas is much lighter than in conventional brands.

          Also, I really like Rooibos tea as a replacement for black tea. Rooibos is an African plant that makes a red tea with no caffiene and very little tannin. Mighty Leaf has a version that is delicious. More information at:

          http://www.mightyleaf.com/ingredients...

          I like it hot or iced. Again, look in local natural food stores. Good luck!

          1. According to the Dr. Pepper FAQ (!), caffeine-free is sold in 17 states. The FAQ item runs over 1000 words detailing options for people in other states.

            http://www.freenewyork.net/dpfaq.html...

            1. I'm a Dr Pepper lover too ... I've never had an alcoholic drink that reminded me of it, but Bonne Bell makes a Lip Smacker in Dr Pepper flavor, and it's very good ;) Available at drugstore.com for $1.79: http://www.drugstore.com/products/pro...

              1 Reply
              1. re: foiegras

                This stuff tastes just like the drink... at least, the stick I had a couple of years ago did. If you can't find anything else that works, this should at least give her the flavor and smell.

              2. Dr. Pepper is very sweet, caffeinated, carbonated, and caramel colored. That could potentially wreak havoc on a persons tummy. Now you need to identify what's causing the discomfort, or more seriously, the problem.

                Steer away from regular tea because of its acidity and its high caffeine (supposedly higher than coffee). Green tea is better.

                If carbonation isn't an issue, try GINGER ALE. It's great for the tummy. No caffeine, no caramel coloring. Some people mix it with cranberry juice, or even white or dark grape juice. It's probably best to drink it straight rather than add any additional sugars (juices).
                STIR the Ginger Ale to remove a lot of the carbonation. That'll help too. Add a mint leaf.

                Lemonade, limeade, or orangeade, is good as long as the citric acid doesn't bother her.
                Mint leaves are great here too.

                Lastly, papaya. This great exotic fruit juice might be able to assist her w/ digestion.
                It's all worth a shot.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Cheese Boy

                  I'm thinking that carbonation must be part of the problem if the club soda bothered her, because what else in club soda would bother the stomach?

                  Regarding the green tea, that's why I ordered her white tea, because it's supposed to have less caffeine than even green tea.

                  1. re: Katie Nell

                    Was it club soda that bothered her or club soda mixed with hyper-acidic lemonade?

                    1. re: hatless

                      I guess that's true... I don't know the answer to that! She hasn't experimented with everything yet, so I might point that out to her. (I know orange juice bothers me!)

                2. I like aqua frescas in the summer... they wouldn't be too acidic, are caffeine-free and are very refreshing. Perhaps you could make a cherry one.

                  It's a simple puree of fruit, water and sugar to taste... sometimes a squeeze of lemon juice. Examples:

                  4 cups water
                  2 cups fresh fruit like raspberries (strain out the seeds)
                  sugar or honey to taste
                  2 teaspoons lemon or lime juice

                  or 2 cups water and a melon. puree, add sweetener to taste, chill.

                  you can garnish with mint or a slice of citrus.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: maviris

                    That sounds great... I had thought about doing a watermelon and cucumber water, but she loves raspberries, so that might be an even better option! Thank you!

                    1. re: Katie Nell

                      Just wanted to say that you should add the water last... the amount depending on how flavorful your fruit is! Please let us know if you come up with something good.

                  2. Katie, If you want something on the exotic side (and easy to make), crush a sprig of fresh basil in the bottom of a glass; then fill the glass cold lemonade and ice. You won't believe the flavor result.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Leper

                      I might have to try this... she loves basil! Thanks!

                    2. I appreciate all the suggestions regarding Dr. Pepper, but I was more looking for something that I could make her that would be so good she could just forget about her Dr. Pepper! (Although, I will definitely be getting her some of the Dr. Pepper Lip Smacker!!)

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Katie Nell

                        I'm addicted to TE JAVA from Trader Joe's. Drink it day or night and never bothered by it. Sometimes I make it a milk tea thing with either a bit of F.F. 1/2 and 1/2 with splenda or for a real treat, some sweetend condensed milk. Te Jave comes in regular and green tea. Great cold or hot. Just pour from the bottle. :)KQ

                      2. I just heard a good stomach remedy from a friend who learned it in China - Coke boiled on the stove with sliced ginger. Supposedly it's a cure-all. If you use caffeine-free coke (or the caffeine-free Dr. Pepper mentioned above) and serve it over ice, that could be a great, theraputic substitute.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Grits

                          I forgot to mention that the boiling takes out all the carbonation - perhaps that was obvious.

                        2. fyi: Jelly Belly makes a Dr. Pepper-flavored jellybean.

                          1. In generic terms, Dr. Pepper is cherry cola. You can get caffeine-free cola-flavored syrup from the Vermont Country Store. Cherry syrup is widely available.

                            http://www.shop.com/op/~Cola_Syrup-pr...

                            1. I lived in Texas as a child, where my mother gave me half Dr Pepper half water in a glass that had originally held dried beef, and my grandmother served it to me straight up. For awhile I was a bit confused as to why things were so much better at Grandma's house. When we moved to Michigan, you couldn't get Dr Pepper in suburban neighborhoods. I hated being without it. Today I won't drink Coke or Pepsi or RC if they still make that, and if I'm brought the wrong one in a restaurant, it's a very unhappy thing if I don't smell it first (I can ID it by smell) and take a sip. My mother loves Dr Pepper too, and when she was in the hospital having my brother, one of her friends went into a convenience store in the hospital district to smuggle one in for her. While there she was offered a selection of inexpensive watches by another shopper ;) and when she got to the hospital announced that she had risked her life for that Dr Pepper! I'm sure Mom felt it was worth it.

                              Twice I've been on vacation and not been able to get it. There was no Dr Pepper on Hilton Head island, they simply don't (or didn't) deliver there--I've never bothered to go back ;) and I once stayed in a hotel in Illinois where every vending machine with Dr Pepper was broken for the duration of my stay. Both times, I was very unhappy.

                              My point? There *is* no substitute for Dr Pepper, I regret to say ;)

                              Though I think a Dr Pepper person would also like Wild Cherry LifeSavers ...

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: foiegras

                                Foiegras, excellent observation. I love Dr. Pepper. Regular OR Diet and any of the flavored varieties. I like wild cherry lifesavers too. For some reason, when I drink Diet Snapple Plumagranate, I can't help but think of Dr. Pepper.

                                Link: http://snapple.com/index.asp?Pageid=1...

                                Must be that plum/prune taste that brings it to mind. People would joke that Dr. Pepper's secret ingredient was prunes. Snapple has mixed its tea with plum juice, pomegranate, and peach, and come up with plumagranate. It tastes great with no diet taste! I think most Dr. Pepper lovers will approve of this one.