The Viral Pickles And Dr Pepper Drink Proves The Trend Knows No Bounds

Would you drink a tall glass of Dr Pepper spiked with ... pickles? No, it's not a joke. Customers around the country have been ordering pickles with their Dr Pepper at local Sonic locations. The fast food chain has been raising eyebrows with this off-the-menu order, which went viral on TikTok. One such video shows the TikToker ordering the unusual combo at a Sonic drive-thru, and the matter-of-fact response from the Sonic employee taking her order seems to suggest this is not an unconventional request.


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♬ original sound – Mississippi Memaw

Since this TikTok made the rounds (in two weeks, the video racked up about 5 million views), many others have posted about their own experience trying the viral drink. However, responses from Sonic employees have not always been quite so nonchalant. The trend seems to be hitting it off most in the American South where some have dubbed the drink a "Dr Pepper Pucker," and most seem genuinely surprised by how much they like it.

Why add pickle juice to Dr Pepper?

While this might sound like something you'd drink after losing a bet at a college party, this kind of sweet-and-sour mixture isn't completely unheard of. We've long added pickles and pickle juice to alcoholic beverages — just think how beloved the pickleback, pickletini, and pickle juice margarita are! And while many of these sour-spiked drinks are savory (like José Andrés' cocktail play on the pickleback), not all of them are. In some ways, the Dr Pepper pickle combo is reminiscent of the Spanish tradition of taking vermouth with orange and olives, with the brininess of the olives cutting the bittersweet flavor of sweet vermouth.

But why add pickles to Dr Pepper and not some other cola, like Pepsi or Coke? It might have to do with the unique pepperiness of this soft drink and the complex formula of 23 secret flavors that give Dr Pepper its distinctive taste. Though vanilla and almond are the primary flavors in the drink, many have detected notes of citrus, cloves, licorice, and even juniper — creating a depth of flavor that can handle something salty and acidic like pickles without being drowned out.

Sonic's pickle-themed drinks

The pickle Dr Pepper has unclear origins, as @mississippimemaw, though perhaps the first to post about it, claims not to have invented the drink. But it's far from Sonic's first foray into a pickle-themed beverage. In 2018, the chain introduced its 'Pickle Juice Slush,' a pickle-forward frozen drink that some have likened to a dill pickle-flavored lemonade or limeade, made by adding pickle juice to one of their classic slush frozen drinks (which come in a variety of fruit flavors).

This acid-green drink became such a fan favorite that Sonic brought it back in 2022, along with its pickle fries (aka fried pickles, not pickle-flavored French fries) and its Big Dill Cheeseburger. Customers were even allowed, during this time, to order any Sonic drink with added pickle juice. Sonic has noted publicly that its pickle-themed products seem to enjoy an outsized popularity among Sonic regulars, so it's no surprise that in the void left by the Pickle Juice Slush, the pickle Dr Pepper would squeeze right in.