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Drinks

Welcome. You just found copycat recipes for all of your favorite famous foods! Bestselling author and TV host, Todd Wilbur shows you how to easily duplicate the taste of iconic dishes and treats at home. See if Todd has hacked your favorite drinks here. New recipes added every week.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 1

    The redesigned Kahlua Coffee Liqueur labels now says "Rum and Coffee Liqueur," which is a helpful description when creating a clone version of the famous cordial. This text was not on the bottle 30 years ago when I made my first version of this liqueur using vodka—not rum. So, back into the lab went I, to create an improved version of the drink with rum, just like the label says.

    I used light rum here for the photo because it is more of a neutral taste like the vodka called for in my first version, but since it doesn't include the caramel color added to Kahlua, your drink will come out a lighter shade of brown than the real stuff. However, you can also use dark rum in this recipe, which will add other flavor notes to your finished product, plus caramel color to deepen the shade of your liqueur.  

    There are many other famous drinks you can make at home! See if I cloned your favorites here

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    To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the famous green mint-flavored Shamrock Shake first served in 1970, McDonald’s created this new minty McFlurry, with crumbled Oreo cookies mixed in. If you’re a Shamrock Shake fan, you’ll go nuts over this new twist. You may never again crave a regular Shamrock Shake.

    This dessert-in-a-cup is thicker than the traditional Shamrock shake since it’s made with soft-serve vanilla ice cream rather than milkshake mix. To simulate the thicker drink at home you mix the ice cream with milk, Shamrock syrup (made with the recipe below), and Oreo crumbs in a frozen glass or ceramic bowl. The cold bowl keeps the ingredients thick until you spoon everything into a glass.

    The secret syrup recipe here makes around 8 tablespoons of green mint syrup, which will be enough to make 4 minty McFlurry clones.

    Follow this link for more of my McDonald's clone recipes. 

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 1

    The PSL is doing A-OK at Starbucks. In 2018, Starbucks moved the release of its seasonal Pumpkin Spice Latte from September to August in anticipation of record sales for the 15-year-old product. According to Nation’s Restaurant News, consumers in 2017 “visited PSL establishments twice as many times as typical patrons,” most likely because they know the drinks are around for only a short time.

    The trick when hacking this Starbucks superstar is making a perfect clone of the syrup used in the drink. I found a friendly barista who was willing to squirt a little of the secret syrup into a cup for me to take back to headquarters for examination. Back in the kitchen I discovered the mysterious light orange-colored syrup had no spice particles in it whatsoever, meaning the flavors are added as extracts or oils. Most home cooks like you and me cannot get such ingredients, so I had to come up with a formula using easily accessible ground spices and pumpkin puree.   

    Pumpkin pie spice makes this recipe easy and much cheaper than buying all the spices separately. It’s a convenient blend of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, plus either allspice or clove, and it’s found in practically all food stores. For our hack, the blend is combined with a sugar solution and cooked until syrupy, then sweetened condensed milk is stirred in. Condensed milk is also used in the original syrup at Starbucks—according to the ingredients list—which is why the syrup is opaque and creamy. When the syrup is done, a couple tablespoons are added to your latte, then it’s topped off with whipped cream and a sprinkling of more spice.

    Lattes are made with espresso, and in this case you’ll need a double shot, which is about ¼ cup. If you can’t make espresso, then make some strong coffee and use ½ cup of it. If you don’t have a way to steam milk, you can heat it up in the microwave for 2 minutes or until hot, then make it foamy with a milk foamer, inversion blender, or whisk.

    Now, how about using that leftover syrup to make a Starbucks Pumpkin Cold Brew? Or try one of my recipes to recreate your favorite Starbucks pastries at home. 

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    Kahlua may market itself as the coffee liqueur developed in Mexico, but many believe the brand originated in Turkey. Looking at the label, we can still see an Arabic archway under which a sombrero-wearing man rests. Old labels of the brand show this man wearing a turban and smoking a pipe. Even the name Kahlua is of Arabic origin. Regardless of where the drink came from, it dominates all other coffee liqueurs out there, including the very popular Tia Maria.

    Here's a greatly improved version of the clone recipe that appears in Top Secret Recipes. You'll find this recipe is easier to make, tastes better, and, just as with the first recipe, improves with age. 

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 1

    It may look like it's all chocolate, but Wendy's founder Dave Thomas thought that a purely chocolate frozen dairy dessert would overpower his burger and fries, so he mixed chocolate with vanilla to create his signature ultra-thick shake, and in 1969, the Frosty was born.

    My first crack at this iconic treat was revealed in a copycat recipe I published 25 years ago that called for mixing milk with Nestle Quik and vanilla ice cream in a blender. Tasty? Sure it was. But the finished product was too runny, and the flavor wasn't perfect. That's why I recently holed myself up in the lab and created a formula that you now churn in a home ice cream maker until thick and creamy, and it tastes just like the real thing.

    Unlike my previous recipe which relied on pre-made ice cream and a drink mix, the scratch ingredients I used here allowed me to make small adjustments in flavor for a better match, and an ice cream maker is the perfect way to produce a thick, creamy consistency. So far, this is the best hack I've come up with to duplicate the treat that tests have shown is up to twice as thick as other famous desserts in a cup, including Dairy Queen's Blizzard and McDonald's McFlurry. 

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 1

    America’s biggest coffee-house chain has come up with another way to sell us a seasonal pumpkin drink, and this one is pretty damn good. Cold brew coffee is mixed with vanilla syrup and ice, then a pumpkin spice flavored cream is layered on top. If it's in a clear glass you'll see the creamy topping slowly sinking to the bottom like a lava lamp, and the color of the drink will change to a light autumn brown.  

    To make our own version of this drink at home we start by making the secret pumpkin spice syrup from my Pumpkin Spice Latte recipe posted last year, but this time I’m adding an extra tablespoon of pumpkin. You’ll have plenty of this syrup left over to make several more drinks.

    The rest is easy. Grab your favorite cold brew coffee and mix it with some vanilla syrup (like this one from Torani). The cream topping is made by mixing cream with 2% milk in a blender, just until thick. After adding the pumpkin syrup, you pour the topping over your coffee and top it off with pumpkin spice.

    You've just hacked Starbucks new autumn-in-a-cup. Now, how about making some of their famous pastries?

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    Need a simple cocktail for a hot day when the thought of lemonade makes your mouth water? Try this one. You start crafting this new signature blender drink by making lemon syrup from scratch from lemon juice, sugar and water. Track down some limoncello--an Italian lemon liqueur--and Smirnoff citrus vodka or your favorite citrus vodka. Refreshing and boozy. Sounds good to me.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 2

    All you need to make this minty schnapps at home is four ingredients, including inexpensive vodka, and an empty bottle to store it in. This is a recipe that was created for More Top Secret Recipes many years ago but didn't make it into the final cut. Now it has a home.

    Isn't making booze at home fun? Check out my recipes for Grand Marnier, Amaretto and Bailey's Irish Cream

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.85. Votes: 13

    The menu describes the steakhouse chain's popular fruity drink as a "down under frozen wonder with peaches, DeKuyper Peachtree Schnapps, champagne, Smirnoff Vodka and secret mixers." You don't need to use the same brand-name booze as the chain does, but you will need to find a can of Kern's peach nectar. It's the perfect "secret mixer."

    Source: Top Secret Recipes: Sodas, Smoothies, Spirits & Shakes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 2

    When John Ferolito and Don Vultaggio were thinking of names for their new line of iced teas back in 1992, they scanned a map for inspiration. The idea was to find a location with hot weather. Santa Fe was the first name that smacked 'em in the face, but the two later settled on the sweltering state of Arizona, with the funky addition of a capital "Z" in the middle. Now AriZona Beverage Company makes over 30 varieties of iced teas, coffees, elixirs, juices and other hip drinks. This clone of their popular black tea with ginseng can be made with just one regular size tea bag and liquid ginseng that you can find in any decent health food store worth a grain of organic salt.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes: Sodas, Smoothies, Spirits & Shakes by Todd Wilbur.

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