SoraNews24’s in-house Dr. Pepper fan tries the mysterious new flavor, plus how to duplicate it at home.

Our Japanese-language reporter Meg has been feeling a little down in the dumps recently. See, while the local divisions of both Coca-Cola and Pepsi regularly dream up special flavors just for the Japanese market, like apple and yuzu, there’s hardly any such variety for Meg’s favorite soda, Dr. Pepper.

That’s largely because Dr. Pepper has a pretty tiny following in Japan, a country that already thinks root beer tastes pretty strange. So while there’s a small group of loyalists who love Dr. Pepper enough to also call it by the nickname “Chiteki Inryo” (which means “intelligent beverage,” apparently associating Dr. Pepper’s professional title with implied intellectualism), the drink is pretty hard to find here, and if Meg finds herself craving a cherry Dr. Pepper, she has to go to a special import store, as the flavor isn’t officially offered in Japan.

So Meg was both surprised and psyched that the Gusto chain of casual restaurants has started adding Dr. Pepper to its soft drink menu. Even better, it’s offered as part of Gusto’s self-serve, unlimited-refill drink bar plan, meaning Meg can have as many glasses as she wants for 399 yen (US$3.70).

So the other day Meg stepped into a nearby Gusto branch to satiate her thirst and satisfy her craving. With cup in hand, she walked up to the drink bar panel and tapped the Dr. Ppper icon, but it turned out she had one more choice to make, because the screen next presented her with two options. On the left was regular Dr. Pepper, but on the right, the icon had a special addition at the bottom, written in katakana text that reads “melon!”

▼ And yes, “melon,” written as メロン, contains the dreaded ン katakana.

If you’ve never had Japanese melon soda, it’s similar in color and flavor to the vibrant verdant syrup put on melon-flavor shaved ice, though not nearly as thick or sticky.

▼ A glass of non-Dr. Pepper melon soda

Seizing this sudden opportunity to try a previously unknown, unimagined Dr. Pepper flavor, Meg quickly tapped the melon Dr. Pepper icon, wondering whether the liquid poured into her glass would be a bright green.

However, it turned out to be pretty close to the normal Dr. Pepper deep brown.

We say pretty close, because looking at the edge of the drink’s surface area, Meg could make out a subtle green tint that’s not present with regular Dr. Pepper.

▼ Regular Dr. Pepper

▼ Melon Dr. Pepper (left) and normal Dr. Pepper (right)

As Meg raised the glass of melon Dr. Pepper to her lips, her nose was tickled not just by the gently popping bubbles of the soda’s fizz, but by a sweet melon aroma. Taking a sip, she found that the scent isn’t misleading, as the first impression is just like a spoonful of melon shaved ice, with the familiar, distinct Dr. Pepper flavor coming after.

▼ “Dr. Pepper melon flavor: Delicious!” concludes Meg.

Overall, the extra sweetness softens Dr. Pepper’s complex flavor a little, so you give up a bit of the spicy herb/botanical effect of the standard drink. In exchange, though, melon Dr. Pepper is smoother and more refreshing, so if the regular version’s flavor feels a bit too busy for you, this is a solid improvement.

Unfortunately, melon Dr. Pepper isn’t currently available in cans, bottles, or anywhere other than Gusto’s drink bar. However, if you want to duplicate it, there might be an easy way. Taking another look at Gusto’s drink bar screen, we can see that one of the options…

…is Melon Fanta. Because of that, there’s a good chance that the melon Dr. Pepper is created by Gusto’s drink bar mixing Dr. Pepper and Melon Fanta together. We’re not sure if it’s an even 50-50 split or some other raito, but grabbing a can each of Dr. Pepper and Melon Fanta, then mixing them in whatever proportion best pleases your palate, should let you enjoy Gusto’s drink at home.

As for Meg, she’s happy to have a new way to enjoy her favorite soda (especially if she’s worked up a thirst after a tough Krag Mava lesson), and this is another reminder, like with soy sauce on pancakes, that sometimes it’s the unexpected flavor combinations that taste the best.

Related: Gusto location finder
Photos ©SoraNews24
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