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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: 4.81. Votes: 47

    Bailey's uses a special process to combine two otherwise incompatible ingredients: cream and whiskey. This secret technique keeps the cream from clumping and separating from the whiskey, and allows the liqueur to go for two years unrefrigerated without spoiling. But we won't need to tap into any secret preparation techniques for our clone here since well be storing the liqueur in the refrigerator. We will, however, replace cream with canned evaporated milk. This gives us a properly sweetened finished product with the taste and texture of the deliciously famous Irish cream. Here now is an improved version of the Bailey's clone recipe that appears in More Top Secret Recipes. This version has fewer ingredients, is easier to make, and tastes amazing.

    Make more fun copycat cocktails and liqueurs with my recipes here.

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

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    Score: 4.24. Votes: 25

    If you've never had a Chelada, the idea of mixing beer with Clamato juice may make your stomach turn. This odd combination of beverages has origins in Mexico that date back to the 1940s, when beer was mixed with lime, salt, and hot sauce or salsa. In early 2008, Anheuser-Busch (Budweiser) and Cadbury-Schweppes (Clamato) teamed up to produce the first canned Chelada beverage, which they dubbed "The Red One," and after a successful launch in select western states, the product is now exploding across the country. Many swear by the drink as a remarkable hangover cure, and after some extensive personal experimentation, I must concur.

    Click here for more famous drink recipes. 

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.64. Votes: 14

    In the coffee war that's been brewing since 2007, McDonald's is emerging victorious by snagging a significant chunk of the $11 billion coffee market away from sector-leader Starbucks. The hamburger chain's McCafe offerings, which include premium cappuccinos, lattes, and iced coffees, scored higher in taste tests according to Consumer Reports magazine, and the drinks come with a lower price tag than comparable beverages at the coffeehouse chain. The Vanilla Iced Coffee appears to be a standout selection at The Golden Arches, and a home clone is simple after you get your hands on some Torani vanilla syrup. Brew up some coffee, chill it, then pour these three ingredients over ice in a 16-ounce glass. The taste of your finished drink will be determined by the quality of your coffee (McDonald's has its own beans), so be sure to brew your best stuff. The better the coffee you start with, the better your clone will taste.

    Some petite vanilla scones would be pretty tasty right about now. Check out all my Starbucks clone recipes here.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.60. Votes: 97

    Starbucks makes its hot chocolate with mocha syrup that's used for a variety of other drinks in the store. A barista combines mocha syrup with a couple squirts of vanilla syrup and heated milk, and he then finishes off the drink with a sweet pile of whipped cream. We can duplicate the process by first creating our own chocolate syrup in the microwave with cocoa—Hershey or Nestle brand each works great. After adding milk to the heated chocolate mixture, pop it back into the microwave again until piping hot. Add a little vanilla extract at the end to give the drink vanilla hints like the original. I found that a 2-cup glass measuring cup with a spout works best to heat the drink in the microwave. Then, when it's ready, you can easily pour the hot chocolate into a 16-ounce coffee mug and get on with the sipping.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.00. Votes: 26

    If you've got an espresso/cappuccino machine, you're well on your way to recreating a top-choice Starbucks coffee drink. For the caramel part, you can use any caramel sauce that you find in the grocery store near the ice cream toppings. Pick your favorite. To make this recipe work best you'll need 3 tablespoons of a rich caramel sauce (like the stuff Starbucks uses), or 4 tablespoons of a lighter sauce (such as fat-free Smuckers). For the vanilla syrup you can use the bottled syrups, such as those made by Torani, or just whip up your own clone from scratch using the recipe below. By the way, if you want to make this clone even more like the real product use the vanilla syrup and caramel sauce Starbucks sells in the shops.

    Check out my recipes for Starbucks famous pastries here

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 6

    In 1880s France, oranges were quite rare and exotic. When Louis Alexandre Marnier-Lopostolle traveled to the Caribbean in search of ingredients, he came back with bitter oranges to combine with his family's fine cognac. Other orange-flavored liqueurs such as triple sec and curacao are mixed with a neutral alcohol base. Grand Marnier took it to the next level with a more complex flavor that makes it today's top-selling French liqueur.

    Now you too can combine cognac with a real orange to make a home version of the tasty—and pricey—stuff. By using an inexpensive cognac that costs around 18 to 20 dollars a bottle, you can create a clone cousin of the real thing that normally sells for around 30 bucks a bottle. All you need, in addition to the cognac, is some sugar, an orange, and a little patience to wait at least 2 weeks.

    Try more of my copycat cocktail and liquor recipes here.

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

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    Score: 4.43. Votes: 7

    There's no need for artificial coloring or flavoring when recreating this chains delicious "limited-time only" holiday milkshake. Real canned pumpkin and pumpkin pie spices will do the trick in this Top Secret version. For the spices, rather than gathering up four costly bottles to use only a small amount from each, toss some pumpkin pie spice into your basket. Its a handy blend of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice that will be near the other spices in your market - McCormick makes a small size that's cheap. Combine everything below in a blender until smooth, and in a flash youve whipped up two servings of a delicious duplicate that can now be enjoyed any time of the year.

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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 lab 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. 

    Using pumpkin pie spice makes this recipe easy and is much cheaper than buying all the spices separately. Pumpkin pie spice is a convenient blend of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and 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 they use is opaque and creamy. When your syrup is done, add a couple tablespoons to your latte, then top it 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, immersion blender, or whisk.

    Now, how about using that leftover syrup to make a Starbucks Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew

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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

    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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I'm Todd Wilbur,
Chronic Food Hacker

For 30 years I've been deconstructing America's most iconic brand-name foods to make the best original clone recipes for you to use at home. Welcome to my lab.

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