We Tried Wendy’s Bourbon Bacon Cheeseburger Alongside Every Dr Pepper Fountain Flavor

Rebecca Hoskins/Thrillist

You may be thinking that there’s nothing on this Earth that tastes better than bourbon or bacon. Wendy’s apparently knows this, because they’ve teamed up the two flavors in their newest menu item, the Bourbon Bacon Cheeseburger. Launched in early May, the burger features a quarter-pound of fresh beef, Applewood smoked bacon, crispy onions, American cheese, and a decadent bourbon bacon sauce nestled between a toasty bun.

Here at Thrillist, we’re a bit obsessive about fast food, and also about trying out all the flavors of just about anything, so Wendy’s newest delectable cheeseburger gave us the perfect excuse to taste it alongside every fountain flavor of that perfect soda, Dr Pepper. After rigorous experimentation, let’s just say that anyone who says pairing wine and cheese is the perfect combination of food and drink clearly hasn’t experienced a pairing of the Bourbon Bacon Cheeseburger with Dr Pepper. 

We’ve done the hard (read: delicious) work of tasting all five burger-soda flavor combinations, and we’re here to fill you in on why each combo is worth ordering. (While we tasted the regular Dr Pepper varieties, they're all available in Diet Dr Pepper, too). Pro tip: You can probably make it to a drive-thru window in the same time it’ll take you to finish this story.

Dr Pepper Cherry

Fruit flavors are no stranger to the Dr Pepper lineup, just like creative burgers are no stranger to Wendy’s menu. And there’s absolutely nothing strange about pairing one of the most unique, delicious fruit sodas you’ll find anywhere (Dr Pepper Cherry) with one of the most unique, delicious burgers in fast food (Wendy’s Bourbon Bacon Cheeseburger). After my first sip-and-bite combo, I discovered the Dr Pepper Cherry offers a pleasantly fresh counterpoint to the smoky bourbon bacon sauce and the salt-kissed crispy onions. Spoiler alert: It was not my last sip (or bite) of this pairing.

Rebecca Hoskins/Thrillist

Strawberry Dr Pepper 

Let’s do a quick recap of the major components in the Wendy’s Bourbon Bacon Cheeseburger: smoky bacon, American cheese, crispy onions, never-frozen beef, and a bourbon bacon sauce. The major component of a Strawberry Dr Pepper is but one ingredient: jalapeños. We’re pulling your chain, it’s just strawberry! This soda flavor is best suited for true lovers of the summer fruit, but those who take the plunge will be rewarded for pairing it with this bacon-filled burger. Not only does this fruity twist on Dr Pepper bring out the sweetness of the bourbon bacon sauce, it also delightfully complements the flavors from the American cheese and a quarter-pound of fresh beef. Strawberry never tasted better in soda form. 

Vanilla Dr Pepper

You don’t need to take a trip to Bourbon County, Kentucky, to know that a glass of bourbon will impart flavors like oak and vanilla. It’s no surprise then that Vanilla Dr Pepper makes an apt pairing with the burger’s bourbon bacon sauce — it takes all the sauce’s vanilla notes and turns ’em up to 11. Even better, the Vanilla Dr Pepper has subtle enough flavors that it won’t overpower the burger’s flashier components like the crispy onions. This pairing is going to take your tastebuds on a trip to the South, so tell your mouth to pack a bag.

Rebecca Hoskins/Thrillist

Cherry Vanilla Dr Pepper 

Dr Pepper Cherry and Vanilla Dr Pepper are both tasty drinks to add to any meal with a Wendy’s burger, so there’s no good reason why Cherry Vanilla Dr Pepper shouldn’t exist. Wait! There’s no need to tweet at Dr Pepper demanding they produce this soda, we promise it already exists. In it, subtle cherry and vanilla flavors combine to provide a combo taste you’ll crave alongside the sauce’s bourbon flavor. The smokiness from the bacon is another great complement to the subtle fragrance of Cherry Vanilla Dr Pepper, while the crispy onions and bourbon bacon sauce benefit from the soda’s pleasant fruit notes. Seriously, delete that tweet from your drafts. 

Original Dr Pepper

Even though Original Dr Pepper technically doesn’t have a specific “flavor” (like cherry, vanilla, or strawberry), in actuality it has 23 flavors (those exact flavorings are unknown, since the recipe is kept under wraps). A burger and a Dr Pepper is a classic pairing — after all, the soda’s been around since 1885, back before there were even licensed doctors, probably! Here, the multitude of complex flavors from the Dr Pepper doesn’t at all get in the way of the Bourbon Bacon Cheeseburger’s Applewood smoked bacon, crispy onions, or the smoky sweetness of the bourbon bacon sauce. Certain food and drink pair so well together that it’s like they’re two beautiful voices harmonizing, which means it’s only a matter of time before Wendy’s never-frozen beef and a Dr Pepper form an a cappella group.


Disclaimer: Fresh beef available in the contiguous U.S., Alaska, and Canada.