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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

    For 50 years, the Frosty at Wendy's came in only one flavor: chocolate. But in 2006, after repeated customer requests, the new Vanilla Frosty debuted nationwide. Like its chocolate counterpart, the Vanilla Frosty is a super-thick milkshake that has the consistency of soft-serve ice cream. Don't even attempt to get it through the straw they serve it with unless you feel the urge to collapse a lung. That's why they also give you a spoon. Start there.

    And, just as with my improved Classic Chocolate Frosty hack, you must make this in a home ice cream maker to get the same thick and creamy consistency as the real thing. Sure, other Frosty clones might taste okay, but if it ain't thick like this one, it ain't a good hack.

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    Score: 3.00. Votes: 2

    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 churn in a home ice cream maker until thick and creamy, and it now tastes just like the real thing.

    Unlike my previous recipe, which relied on premade 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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    The burgers rock, the custard is cool, and the shakes may be the best you’ve ever had. The shakes at Shake Shack are so good because they’re made with the chain’s signature frozen vanilla custard which I’ve already hacked here. To make the shake you just add milk to the custard and blend it until smooth. Pour the creamy shake into a 16-ounce glass and today will be your new favorite cheat day.

    Make your own version at home using the Shake Shack Frozen Vanilla Custard hack here or pre-made frozen custard. Plus, milk and a blender.

    Try my recipe for the Shake Shack Burger here.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 1

    Milo Carlton opened the first Milo’s Hamburger Shop in Brirmingham, Alabama in 1946 serving hamburgers, pies and freshly brewed iced tea which customers would sweeten from a bowl of sugar on each table. But because of a sugar ration caused by the war, Milo was forced to do something no one had tried before: he took all the sugar bowls off of the tables and pre-sweetened the tea. When customers realized the tea was better than they could make themselves Milo’s Famous Sweet Tea became as popular as the food.

    In the late 80’s, Milo’s began selling the Famous Sweet Tea in gallon jugs in grocery stores in the Birmingham area, and it has been a growing successful product ever since, recently becoming a national brand.

    To duplicate a Southern sweet tea like this, you absolutely must start with Southern tea bags, and that means Luzianne. This New Orleans tea company crafts its tea blend especially for iced tea. You will get the best clone of Southern-style sweet tea with this brand. If you can’t find Luzianne, you can still make great tea with Lipton Iced Tea Bags.

    Check out more of my recipes for famous drinks here. 

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    Researchers at University of Florida’s College of Medicine developed Gatorade in 1965 when the head coach of the Florida Gators football team requested a specially designed drink that could replace lost fluids during hot weather games. With players pounding the new sports drink, the Gators went on to take their first Orange Bowl victory in 1967 against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. When the head coach of the Yellow Jackets was asked why his team lost, he said, “We didn’t have Gatorade. That made the difference.” Later that year, Gatorade became the official drink of the NFL.

    The secret to making Gatorade at home is not just about getting the flavor right but also about locating a simple source of the drink’s important supplemental ingredients, potassium and dextrose. Potassium (along with salt) replaces electrolytes that are lost when you sweat to ensure proper functioning of your brain and organs. I discovered that a good source of potassium is Morton’s salt substitute, which is made with potassium chloride. Most supermarkets should have it stocked near the salt.

    Dextrose, on the other hand, is a natural sugar that absorbs quickly into your body to restore glycogen in muscles lost during physical activity. Bodybuilders and athletes use it during and after games and workouts to speed up recovery and stimulate muscle growth. Luckily, I was able to find the perfect product that added just the right amount of dextrose to 64 ounces of water and that also came in the perfect orange flavor: Willy Wonka Pixy Stix. Find the large 1-ounce size in the giant plastic straw, and grab two. I found them online for 50 cents each.

    Dump everything here into a 64-ounce pitcher of water, stir to dissolve, and in just a few minutes you’ll have the same taste and energy benefits of one of the two original flavors of Gatorade, but at about half the price.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Step-by-Step by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.00. Votes: 1

    Real Hawaiian Punch contains only 5 percent fruit juice. Even though some of the ingredients in our clone are not pure fruit juice, and we're adding additional water and sugar, this homemade Hawaiian punch fruit juice - red recipe still contains a lot more tasty real fruit juice than the real thing.

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

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    Score: 4.67. Votes: 6

    At only 10 1/2 ounces per serving you might think this drink a bit wee. But I assure you, one of these packs a wallop, and two will get you speaking in haiku. This delicious raspberry margarita, along with an incredible southwestern cuisine, is making this small chain a big success story.

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

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    In the southwestern cities where Z'Tejas serves these incredible margaritas, they are truly legendary. The secret mixture is made fresh every day in a freezing dispenser machine with a dirt-cheap brand of tequila and custom-made sweet-and-sour mix. Perhaps that's the beauty of the drink. It's one of the most potent margaritas around, but with the addition of sweet liqueurs, its strength is well hidden. Even though the chain uses a special machine to make this one, preparing your own clone doesn't require any special equipment. It does take patience, however. Most good things do. But before long you'll be enjoying either a clone of Z' Big Stick with three layers of liqueurs, or a copy of the Famous Chambord Raspberry Margarita, the drink that earns "Best Margarita in Town" awards for the chain on a regular basis. 

    You can, of course, drink the basic margarita base without the liqueurs, but the added liqueurs give the drink its charm. To create the margarita, you must mix all the ingredients in a pitcher and put it in the freezer for at least 4 hours, even overnight if you can. The cocktail won't freeze solid since there's tequila in there. When it's frozen, you take it out, and give it a little stir until it's the perfect slushy consistency.

    This recipe clones the tall, 14-ounce drink served in a pilsner glass with layers of Chambord, Midori, and blue curacao. The restaurant limits customers to just two of these drinks per visit. Try it and you'll find out why.

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

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    Score: 4.75. Votes: 4

    In 1919, when Roy Allen and Frank Wright started selling their new root beer beverage to a thirsty America, national Prohibition was taking its grip on the country. Their timing couldn't have been better. No longer able to legally drink real beer, thirsty patriots had to settle for this sweet, foamy concoction derived from roots, herbs, and berries. Roy and Frank had thirteen years of Prohibition to make their mark and their fortune from this refreshing drink. By 1933, when Prohibition came to a screeching halt, Roy and Frank had 171 stands in various shapes and sizes, each with the familiar A&W logo on them, all across the country. These drive-up stands with their tray boys and tray girls bringing cold drinks out to the cars were an inspiration for many other roadside stands and diners, and the prelude to the popular fast food drive-thrus of today. You can still get a foamy mug of A&W root beer at outlets across the country, or just enjoy some from a 12-ounce can.

    But if it's some home cloning you'd like to get into, check out this A&W root beer recipe that was first printed in More Top Secret Recipes. The beauty is you won't have to worry about collecting roots, herbs, and berries like the pros do when making A&W root beer. Instead you just need to get some root beer extract, manufactured by McCormick, that you'll find near the vanilla in your local supermarket. Make up some root beer syrup, let it cool off in the fridge, and you can whip up 10 servings by combining the syrup with soda water whenever you're ready to drink.

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

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    Sure, Roy Allen and Frank Wright are better known for the exquisite root beer concoction sold first from California drive-up stands under the A & amp;W brand name. But these days the company makes a darn good vanilla cream soda as well. And the formula is one we can easily clone at home by combining a few simple ingredients. Most of the flavor comes from vanilla, but you'll also need a little lemonade flavor Kool-Aid unsweetened drink mix powder. This mix comes in .23-ounce packets and provides the essential citric acid that gives this A&W cream soda copycat recipe the slight sour flavor of the real thing. Once you make the syrup, let it cool down in the fridge, then combine the syrup with cold soda water in a 1-to-4 ration, add a little ice, and get sipping.

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

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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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