Cocktail Alchemy

Wherein You Will Learn How To Duplicate
Famous Libations For A Fraction of the Cost!

        D.I.Y. COINTREAU (Triple Sec)!

Cointreau ShadowThe fermenting and creating of “adult” beverages has a long and fascinating history. Almost all famous liqueurs began as… medicine! Making many of these items at home is not just fun, but quite cost effective. I shall inaugurate this page with a classic liqueur that is an essential ingredient in many popular cocktails, including the Cosmopolitan and the Margarita. I refer to COINTREAU, also known as Triple Sec. A small bottle of Cointreau will run you north of $20. And yet it is so simple to make at home. All you need is an orange, some sugar, vodka – the cheaper the better – and a little time!

The Recipe

2 cups vodka
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 medium orange

My Own Triple Sec - Aging

My Own Triple Sec – Aging

1) Pour the vodka into a 2-cup jar with a lid. I use a mason jar with Saran Wrap sealing the lid (see photo).

2) Peel and section the orange, then slice each of the orange sections in half lengthwise, and add them to the jar along with the sugar

3) Cover jar and shake until the sugar has dissolved.

4) Store the jar at room temperature for at least 2 weeks, then strain the orange slices and pulp from the liquid. Use as you would any commercial Triple Sec, in mixed drinks or just to savor and sip as an Apéritif.


Save MoneyGrand Marnier Shadow

Want to REALLY save big? Make this with a nice Cognac and you will have a COCKTAIL ALCHEMY version of the famous GRAND MARNIER LIQUEUR!

Irish Cream Banner

Irish CreamBack in what I fondly recall as my gloriously misspent youth, an evening’s pub-crawl always ended for me with a hefty shot of Bailey’s Irish Cream. It provided a refreshing nightcap (the word, BTW, is a corruption of NIGHTCUP).
This simple recipe brings those nights back to me… sigh… at a fraction of the cost. The key word here is SIMPLE. I’ve seen truly wacky Irish Cream clones that call for useless ingredients like eggs, cocoa powder, half & half… and even butter! I guess we’re lucky that nobody has tried to include bacon fat (so far). Here you will see all the ingredients you need to make a luscious, rich concoction. HINT: Adjust the sugar and flavorings to your own taste.

The Recipe1 12-ounce can of evaporated milk (regular or 2%)
1 cup Irish whiskey – I use an inexpensive blended whiskey such as Fleischman’s.
1/4 cup granulated sugar.
1 tablespoon chocolate syrup.
1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
1/2 teaspoon instant coffee.
Combine all ingredients.
Mix until sugar has thoroughly dissolved.

Pour into a container, cap it and keep in the refrigerator.
Shake well before serving.
Yields about 3 cups

Enjoy A Magickal Shot!


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Click the image and you won’t need an Elf in order to have the best EGG NOG you ever tasted!

Egg Nog Elves

Anisette Banner

I know it borders on Cosplay, but I can never see The Godfather moviesDon Corleone with Anisette without sipping anisette. What can I tell you? It enhances the movie experience for me. Below, I will show you how to make your own anisette as good as any on the liquor store shelf but for a lot less money and… you can do it in under 5 minutes! 

The Recipe

anise1/2 cup of hot, hot water… very hot.
1/3 cup granulated sugar (use more or less to taste).
1 cup 80-proof vodka.
1/4 teaspoon anise extract.

1) Dissolve sugar in the hot water.
2) Add vodka and anise extract.
Store in sealed bottle. Yields a pint. A DELICIOUS pint…


The World-Famous Liqueur For Lovers!

amaretto ad

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What’s that they say? The finest amaretto comes from only… where??? Well, if you follow these instructions “The Potion Of Love” can also come from… YOUR KITCHEN!

The Recipe

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 cup very hot water
1/2 cup corn syrup or simple syrup*
1 1/2 cups 80-proof vodka
1 tablespoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1) Combine the hot water and the sugars in a bowl. Stir until the sugars have dissolved. Now add the syrup and stir well.
2) Add the vodka and flavorings and stir again.
3) Store in a sealed container.

Makes about a pint and a half

* DIY “Corn Syrup”

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup water
A Heavy Pot for boiling 

Mix the ingredients in a heavy pot.
Bring the mixture to a slow boil. Avoid a rolling boil or it can get messy!
Reduce the heat to a simmer.
Let the mixture simmer over low heat until the mixture gets thick and syrupy.
This syrup should simmer for about 3 minutes.
Store in a glass jar – keeps well in your refrigerator.

WARNING: This gets a bit tricky to make – if you don’t do it just right you will end up with a piece of rock candy cemented to the bottom of your jar. Instead, try:


Two parts sugar
One part water
Heat the water then stir in the sugar and dissolve it. With a bit of time it will, as with most things in life, become clear.
NO NEED to bring to a boil.
Store in a bottle in the refrigerator.


For this purpose, I employ a sturdy container (label removed) from my stash of empty glassCLAMATO CLAMATO® bottles, which are like the old SNAPPLE bottles, now unfortunately made of plastic. (I find emptying the CLAMATO® bottles infinitely more fun than SNAPPLE especially with the addition of vodka and my homemade hot sauce).
And I don’t stop there! I use a special label on each bottle, which I now give to you to use yourself.
Click the image, save it, and then shrink it to size for a sheet of paper with a word processing program or a design program. Print it and trim it the old-fashioned way (scissors) then slap it on the bottle with a glue stick. I protect it with a piece of a self-stick laminating sheet.
Corn Syrup Label

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