No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you. Pop into BCK Kitchen & Cocktail Adventures, the new nostalgia-themed gastropub in the Heights, and there does appear to be a Dr Pepper in every other person’s hand. Except there’s more in their mugs than Texas’s beloved soda.
“It’s a tiki-style cocktail,” says bar director Crisia Araujo, inventor of what is clearly the eatery’s most popular drink, the Dr Feel Good, “but it has untraditional ingredients.” The cocktail’s served inside a sawed-off soda can, but have no fear, moms of America, it’s completely safe to drink out of.
The majority of the menu at BCK is inspired by ’80s and ’90s childhood obsessions—think Shake ‘n’ Bake pork chops, Salisbury steak, and “Pasghettio’s.” Brainstorming signature drinks with that in mind, Araujo says, she realized that “for me, that was Dr Pepper. I’m still obsessed.”
Apparently, so is everybody else in town, because the bar makes around 480 of these cocktails a week, reducing down cases of Dr Pepper and blending the result with blanched, pulverized almonds and orange flower water to create their own version of orgeat, the nutty syrup often used in tiki cocktails. This nectar gets an appropriately Texan kick in the butt via a shot of Jack Daniel’s rye whiskey before being fully tikified via citrus, dashes of clove- and cinnamon-forward Abbott’s and Angostura bitters, and crushed ice. It tastes like a Jack and Coke gone wild, or at least to the tropics.
And yes, you can take home your souvenir-worthy can. “It’s kind of fun,” says Araujo. “People are like, can I keep this? I’m like, sure, go for it.”