Give Your Pancakes a Flavor Boost With Infused Maple Syrup

Pancakes, waffles, and French toast are all great, but these breakfast basics are really just a vessel for us to eat more maple syrup, right? While unflavored maple syrup is a delight in its own right, every now and then it can be a real treat to dress it up.

Flavoring maple syrup is a fun way to make breakfast an adventure. Here are five delicious ways to do it.

Source: 5 Maple Syrup Twists to Take Your Pancakes on a Breakfast Adventure

I did something similar recently. I made some blackberry sauce by simmering frozen blackberries with a little water and mushing them through a strainer to get out the seeds. Then I heated the sauce with a shot of my homemade vanilla rum and some maple syrup.

It made a wonderful, fruity, purple maple syrup.

Learn What All Those Confusing Whiskey Label Terms Mean With This Guide

Ideally you want to get into a whiskey bottle, not spend all your time reading it like a cereal box. But to ensure you actually like what you buy, it’s probably a good idea to know how to decode a label. We won’t get into the nuance of all aspects here—whiskey subjects, if you’ve dabbled into them at all, tend to inspire some serious exegesis—but we can help guide you down the whiskey (whisky) aisle with a few key terms and basic definitions.

Source: How to Decode Any Whisk(e)y Label

Correction: Single Malt means that the whiskey came from a single batch of malt rather than from several that were blended. Think of a single origin coffee or single varietal wine versus a blend.

Blended whiskeys tend to be less expensive and more consistent on the flavor because the distillers can make up for weaknesses in one malt with strengths from another.

Single malt whiskeys tend to be more expensive, in part, due to the time and care it takes to get good results from just using one malt instead of blending. You’re also much more likely to get distinct flavors from a single malt (some are peaty, some are smokey, some are floral, some taste of vanilla).

How to Make Your Own Bitters for a Signature Stamp on Every Cocktail

Any bar worth its rimming salt should be stocked with at least a couple of bottles of bitters. Sure, you can make a cocktail without them, but you can also roast a chicken without salt or pepper. Like these everyday seasonings, cocktail bitters add flavor and depth to almost any beverage, and making your own allows you to put a unique stamp on every cocktail you serve.

I urge you to think of bitters as a sort of “cocktail spice rack”, and to think of every cocktail as a choose-your-own-adventure type of situation. Homemade bitters are so easy to make (you just throw stuff in jars) that there’s no reason not to have a bottle to suit each and every one of your whims. Plus, they make great, super thoughtful gifts. (It’s September, everyone, which means it is just about time to start stressing about the holidays.)

Source: How to Make Your Own Bitters for a Signature Stamp on Every Cocktail

No matter how good you think they would be, never try to eat the fruit soaked for bitters. 😉

If you find yourself at a bar unable to afford decent bourbon (or the well sludge is on happy hour) ask for a splash of aromatic bitters with your drink. Turns a really crappy bourbon into a mediocre-to-poor bourbon, and they’ll never upcharge you for it.

How to Make Flavored Spirits That Are Way Tastier Than Store-Bought

Walk into any big box liquor store and you’re likely to see shelves and shelves of colorfully packaged vodkas with flavors ranging from “cookie dough” to “Swedish fish.” Though marvels of flavor chemistry, these spirits often taste cloying or artificial, and aren’t good for much more than a novelty shot. Homemade infusions, however, are a completely different story, and have the added benefit of letting you control the outcome.

Source: How to Make Flavored Spirits That Are Way Tastier Than Store-Bought

Everclear is an even better option than vodka, if you can get it.  I have the zest of Meyer lemons for limoncello, just as soon as I can get some.

If you’re looking to speed up the process, you need are the ingredients you’d use anyway and a whipping siphon. You’ll also need some nitrous oxide (N2O) chargers for the siphon to get the job done. The siphon is designed for whipped creams and toppings, but it works great for infusions as well.  The video shows you how it’s done:

Lightning in a Bottle: How Drinking Alcohol Makes You More Creative

Advertising has and forever will be one of the most creative industries out there. In the 1960s, Volkswagen’s “Lemon” advertisement for the beetle, which showed the word big and bold, ushered in the so-called “creative revolution” throughout advertising agencies. Rather than cliché ads, which only showed the product and the reason for its use — a hammer hitting a head for headache medicine — the word “Lemon” captured people’s attention, and then told them something about the product that was completely unrelated to lemons. If you watch Mad Men, then you know how much drinking is portrayed during that time period. But it was very much the same in reality, and that’s because alcohol certainly does make you more creative.

Source: How Drinking Alcohol Makes You More Creative: Drink Up For More ‘Aha!’ Moments

I think the study is missing a key point: Alcohol is a depressant, and there is a link between depression and creativity.

There’d been news recently to suggest that from an evolutionary perspective, depression should have been weeded out.  So it stood to reason that, as miserable as it is to experience depression, there’s a benefit in some manner.  I remember someone saying years back that they believed that “no one wrote poetry while they were happy”.  Maybe there’s some truth to the statement?

Next time I get pulled over, I’ll try telling the law enforcement representative that I was “driving creatively”:

Cooking: Non-Alcoholic Substitutes for Alcohol in Recipes

[The] following is a general list of non-alcoholic substitutes that can be used when cooking with alcohol is simply not an option. Choose the option that best matches the flavor of the dish you are making

Source: Alcohol Substitutions in Cooking

Worth taking a look at if you or someone you know needs to avoid alcohol but retain the flavour and enjoyment.  That doesn’t mean just alcoholics – expecting mothers?