Inspired by this question, I'm curious about what exactly a "flavor" is with regard to effects of the Prestidigitation spell. The relevant text of the spell is
- You chill, warm, or flavor up to 1 cubic foot of nonliving material for 1 hour.
In general, changing something's flavor involves adding things to it-- adding sugar to tea makes the tea sweeter, adding pepper to potatoes makes them spicier, and so on. Other cases of changing flavors involves changing the composition of an item of food itself: cooking a steak changes how it tastes.
In any case, a single item of food or drink, left specifically unchanged, won't exhibit differences in flavor. Magic allows some direct ways around that constraint (illusions create effects out of applied magical energies, or alter the perceptions of a person such that they imagine different flavors), but Prestidigitation is a Transmutation spell, not an Illusion spell.
It seems to follow that using Prestidigitation to alter something's flavor then adds mundane elements (albeit through magical means), such as conjuring appropriately dissolved sugar into a cup of tea.
So my question, then, is to what degree can using Prestidigitation to change the flavor of something actually change the composition of that thing in a meaningful way?
In the linked question, making the swamp water taste like a Piña Colada could just make it taste like pineapples and cream. But if the flavor were altered to specifically be an alcoholic Piña Colada (which should specifically work with this spell), could that altered flavor be a consequence of magic-ing ethanol into the swamp water making it actually alcoholic?
Or are there explicit limitations on the spell that I'm missing? Using flavor as a verb, as the spell description does, doesn't necessarily mean "make the food taste like something else", which would open the doors for "other natural flavors"-style, inactive imitation flavors.
Magic can solve the problem of whether or not there is a chemical component which duplicates any given flavor but has no effective properties other than that flavor, but that seems like a strong limitation to read into the spell.
I'm only interested in answers based on rules as written, at least by analogy to other effects, even if that leaves the best answer as "the rules are unclear".