Although there is *no* substitute for Dr. Pepper, I made some pretty damn good drinks!
Thanks for everyone's help regarding the Dr. Pepper situation... my mom still misses it, but I made a couple of drinks on Saturday to help her forget it! We got together for my brother's birthday and I made two drinks to go along with the lemon cake he requested. (Of course, as usual, I forgot to take pictures! I also forgot the garnishes, so there was one lonely little perfect strawberry sitting in the fridge afterwards!) I got my "Fine Cooking" magazine on Thursday and it had a pink lemonade recipe in it, so I decided to try that out and it was really excellent! Everyone loved that one the best! It had amazing strawberry flavor and was an absolutely beautiful shade of pink... definitely a keeper recipe! I also made aqua frescas (thanks Maviris for the suggestion!) These went over really well, though the boys did like the pink lemonade better. I used raspberries, a little lime juice, and a little honey along with the sugar and water. (I think it would have been great with a little bit of fresh ginger too.) I was amazed at how beautiful and tasty just a little bit of water and fruit puree was! So, even though Dr. Pepper can't be replaced, the drinks were a hit, and my mom was happy!
For those interested in the recipes:
Dice a pint of strawberries and combine with 2 cups of sugar and 2 cups of water. Bring this mixture to a boil and then turn down to simmer for a few minutes, or until some of the color has left the strawberries (I took it a bit further and probably simmered it for 10 minutes.) Set this mixture aside to cool. Squeeze lemons until you have 2 cups of lemon juice (I had 8 large lemons and only got about 1-1/4 cups, so I would say 15 or 16 lemons would get you there.) Once the strawberry mixture has cooled, strain into a pitcher, and gently press the strawberries to get most of the liquid out. Add the lemon juice, and then add 1-1/2 cups cold water. And that's it! I thought that it was a little too tart at first, but it seemed to mellow out, because by the time we drank it, it was just right. Here's a picture from Fine Cooking, since I forgot! http://www.taunton.com/finecooking/pa...
Here is a recipe I found that is really similar to what I did, except I used raspberries and a little honey. http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recip...
As a side note, the raspberries and strawberries were just gorgeous after sitting in mason jars for 5 days! I had one test strawberry in a plastic container and the rest in the mason jar... the one in the plastic was really quite mushy, and the ones in the mason jar looked like they did the day I bought them!