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Drinks

Good job! You just found 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 for less money than eating out. Todd's recipes are easy to follow and fun to make! See if Todd has hacked your favorite drinks here. New recipes added every week.

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    Score: 3.44. Votes: 9

    Although the drink is 99 percent sugar water, that other 1 percent is the key to the drink's unique taste. The tangy citrus flavors, from lime juice, citrus oils, and citric acid (today the citric acid has been replaced with phosphoric acid), was used by pharmacist John Pemberton to overcome the inherent unpleasant bitterness of cocaine and caffeine. Even after removing the cocaine from the drink, it was still necessary to conceal the ghastly flavor of kola nut and coca leaf extract from the taste buds with the sweet, tangy syrup.

    To make an accurate clone of Coca-Cola at home, I started with the medicinal ingredient, probably just as John did. But rather than harvesting kola nuts, we have the luxury of access to caffeine pills found in any grocery store or pharmacy. One such brand is Vivarin, but it is yellow in color with a thick coating and it tastes much too bitter. NoDoz, however, is white and less bitter, with a thinner coating. Each NoDoz tablet contains 200 milligrams of caffeine, and a 12-ounce serving Coke has 46 milligrams in it. So, if we use 8 NoDoz tablets that have been crushed into powder with a mortar and pestle (or in a bowl using the back of a spoon) we get 44 milligrams of caffeine in a 12-ounce serving, or 36 milligrams in each of the 10-ounce servings we make with this recipe. 

    Finding and adding the caffeine is the easy part. You'll probably have more trouble obtaining Coke's crucial flavoring ingredient: cassia oil. I was hoping to leave such a hard-to-get ingredient out of this recipe, but I found it impossible. The unique flavor of the Coke absolutely requires the inclusion of this Vietnamese cinnamon oil (usually sold for aromatherapy), but only a very small amount. You'll find the cassia oil in a health food store (I used the brand Oshadhi), along with the lemon oil and orange oil. The yield of this recipe had to be cranked up to 44 10-ounce servings since these oils are so strong—just one drop is all you'll need. Find them in bottles that allow you to measure exactly one drop if you can. If the oils don't come in such a bottle, buy eyedroppers at a drug store. Before you leave the health food store, don't forget the citric acid.

    This recipe, because of the old-fashioned technique of adding the syrup to soda water, creates a clone of Coke as it would taste coming out of a fountain machine. That Coke is usually not as fizzy as the bottled stuff. But if you add some ice to a glass of bottled Coke, and them some of this cloned version, the bubbles will settle down and you'll discover how close the two are. You can keep the syrup in a sealed container in the fridge until you are ready to mix each drink with soda water. 

    Because subtle differences in flavor can affect the finished product, be sure to measure your ingredients very carefully. Use the flat top edge of a butter knife to scrape away the excess sugar and citric acid from the top of the measuring cup and teaspoon, and don't estimate on any of the liquid ingredients.

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

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    Score: 4.47. Votes: 15

    I was having trouble getting the flavors just right for Lipton's bottled diet green tea, which has become such a big seller. Real lime juice wasn't cutting it, nor were any of the extracts or oils I tried. Then, one day, I stumbled onto a new product called True Lime. It's a crystallized lime substitute that's made with lime juice and lime oil, and it comes in 2.85-ounce bottles or in boxes of 40 packets. It can be found in the baking aisle of your local supermarket, and it can be used for cooking wherever lime juice is required, or you can dissolve it in beverages. Had I found my secret ingredient? After some experimenting, I discovered that the citric acid in True Lime adds just the right amount of acidic tang that we need for a clone that tastes like the original product (which also contains citric acid). Success! To make your own version of this popular bottled green tea, simply pour some boiling water over a couple green tea bags, add the other ingredients listed below, and you'll soon have a home-brewed clone of Lipton's hit drink. Calories not included.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 3.78. Votes: 18

    Add vanilla, hazelnut, almond and chocolate to coffee, milk, sugar and ice in a blender and you get a hack of Dunkin' Donuts' hit frozen coffee drink. Torani makes hazelnut syrup that's perfect for this recipe—you'll find it near the coffee in your market or in a bar supply outlet. Your drink will come out lighter in color than the real thing—the real recipe may include caramel coloring to darken the drink. This Dunkin' Donuts Coffee Coolatta recipe makes one 24-ounce serving which is called "medium" at the store—or you can split the recipe into two more modest 12-ounce servings.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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    Bars across the country are finding clever new ways to use the growing number of flavor-infused vodkas. Here's one simple, delicious example.

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

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    Score: 4.17. Votes: 23

    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.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 1

    Pear vodka and pear nectar combine for big pear flavor in this refreshing martini hack from The Factory. If you can't find Torani passion fruit syrup, use passion fruit juice. And be sure to chill the glass with ice and a little water before mixing.

    by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 1

    Menu Description: "One part lime. Two parts cherry. All blended with ice-cold Sprite." 

    Denny's Fusion Favorites are creative drink mixes blended from the chain's soda fountain with a variety of added fruit flavors. The secret ingredients in these trademarked drinks are the flavored syrups dispensed from giant squirt bottles next to the soda machines, but I discovered that we can easily recreate these syrups using Kool-Aid drink mix powder. For this drink, that is the top choice on the Fusion Favorites menu, dissolve the Kool-Aid mix into a little lime juice for a cherry/lime syrup that can be stirred into a blend of Sprite and Minute-Maid lemonade. And if you want to significantly reduce the calories in this drink, use diet Sprite and light Minute-Maid lemonade and you can hardly tell the difference.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 7

    Menu Description: "Our own housemade vodka made with fresh golden pineapple infused in Skyy Infusions Passion Fruit Vodka."

    These two signature drinks from the steakhouse chain are made with the delicious Skyy Passion Fruit Vodka that has been further infused with fresh pineapple. The Pineapple Goldrush is the infused vodka served straight up in a martini glass, while the strawberry version is served in a cocktail glass with the refreshing addition of strawberry puree and lemonade.

    This recipe makes enough of the infused vodka for a couple dozen drinks, so this recipe is perfect when youve got a summer party coming up, and you want it to be a rager. Use a large canister to make the flavored vodka, and be sure to stack the fresh pineapple slices with spaces between them so that the vodka can perform its infusion magic. After a week or so you'll see that the vodka has turned a light yellow color and the pineapple slices have faded. that's your cue to remove the pineapple and store the vodka. At this point the pineapple slices have become potent little vodka bombs and can be thrown away, unless you want to use them as garnishes for the cocktails. Just beware before you bite into one because they are stingers! My bartender at LongHorn Steakhouse told me that she would sometimes take the loaded pineapple slices home and blend them into other cocktails. She said those pickled pina slices were responsible for some of the craziest parties she's ever thrown.

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    Not only does the restaurant still serve some of the tastiest cocktails and mixed drinks, but T.G.I. Friday's also has one of the best selections of custom non-alcoholic drinks in the business. The smoothies and shakes at Friday's are all excellent, as are the designer sodas called "Flings." These are hand-mixed soda beverages made in a fashion reminiscent of old-time soda fountains. Juices and sweeteners are mixed with cold soda water and served over ice—you can't go wrong with one of these. The Fling cloned here uses cranberry juice, apple juice, simple syrup, and sweet-and-sour mix.

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

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    Dairy Queen’s got twice as many stores, but Baskin-Robbins is still the country’s second-largest ice cream chain with around 2,500 outlets spread across the nation. And, naturally, when the chain known for its 31 flavors of ice cream noticed the smoothie craze building in 1997, it hopped right on board with it's own selection made from sherbet or vanilla fat-free frozen yogurt. In the stores, servers use a pineapple juice concentrate for this smoothie, but we can still get a great clone by using the more popular canned pineapple juice found in any supermarket. As for the peaches, you may want to let them thaw a bit and then chop them up so you can get a more accurate measure.

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

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