Charles Alderton, a pharmacist in Waco, Texas, invented Dr Pepper in 1885 to recreate the sweet scent and flavor of the soda from the drugstore where he used to work. While Dr Pepper isn’t a blend of other sodas, the exact 23 flavors that make up the drink are kept secret to this day.
Per The Daily Meal, mega fans of Dr Pepper believe the 23 flavors are (in alphabetical order) amaretto, almond, blackberry, black licorice, caramel, carrot, clove, cherry, cola, ginger, juniper, lemon, molasses, nutmeg, orange, prune, plum, pepper, root beer, rum, raspberry, tomato, and vanilla.
So, the peppery kick in Dr Pepper might come from pepper itself, but it could also be black licorice, clove, ginger, and root beer that give it a more subtle spice. Whether you agree with the public consensus on Dr Pepper's flavors or not, pick up a bottle and try to decipher it yourself for fun.