donEvery once in awhile you feel like you deserve a good, well-aged bottle of whiskey. Drinking quality whiskey makes you feel bold and refined, and showing up with some to a party definitely won’t hurt your reputation. That smoky flavor, reminiscent of bonfires and grandpa’s cigars, the woody taste, and the smoothness as it goes down create the perfect whiskey experience. Sounds like it might be a pretty expensive bottle right? Nope! You can have that same experience without paying more than 15 dollars; you just have to add three magic ingredients, and you’re golden.

Drinking a 15-dollar bottle of whiskey probably won’t taste like it’s been aged in an oak cask for 25 years. Cheap whiskies usually come with a lovely burning aftertaste on the tongue along with a not-so-smooth trip down the throat. But, there’s no need to blow your monthly paycheck on a Macallan or even a Johnnie Walker. You can buy the cheapest whiskey you can find; just pour it in a 750 mL bottle, add the secret formula below, and shake.

  • 1 Tablespoon Dry Sherry
  • 2/4 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Liquid Smoke

The Chefs at America’s Test Kitchen are the geniuses behind these three magic ingredients. Their job is to come up with tricks to make your culinary life easier, and they came up with a way to instantly age your whiskey. If you add the formula, your cheap, knockoff whiskey brand will suddenly transform into a fully aged, oaky, and well-balanced bottle that will fool any whiskey enthusiast. These three ingredients seem to be the most effective in mimicking the effects of barrel aging. The vanilla extract creates flavors found in oak, the liquid smoke gives it an earthy depth, and the dry sherry adds those woody aromas all associated with well-aged whiskey. So, instead of breaking the bank to impress your date with an expensive whiskey brand, age a super cheap bottle yourself and create your own. Just make sure to switch the bottle first!