Dab an 8×8 square baking pan with a bit of butter or shots of baking spray.
Line the baking pan with two trimmed sheets of parchment paper crossed in an x and folded up so as to rise up over the sides of the pan.
Oil or butter the parchment lightly.
In a small saucepan, bring cream, butter and salt to a boil over med low heat.
Remove from heat and set aside.
In a heavy medium saucepan, bring sugar, syrup and water to a boil over medium heat, stirring just until the granulated sugar is dissolved.
Insert candy thermometer.
Boil over medium low heat without stirring until the sugar reaches a golden caramel hue. [Based on experience, this temperature can vary between 300-320. We have had repeated success with 315F.]
Remove from heat.
Whisk in cream mixture and watch the mixture increase in volume.
Insert and attach candy thermometer.
Heat without stirring until caramel reaches 250F on a candy thermometer.
Remove from stove and add vanilla and optional alcohol, stirring with a spoon or whisk.
The mixture will foam up a bit again!
Pour into prepared baking pan and refrigerate, covered, for at least 3-4 hours.
After about 20 minutes of cooling, top caramels with a small bit of additional salt.
Remove from pan.
Slice into thin rectangular lengths with a pizza cutter.
Wrap individually in rectangles of waxed paper, twisting at the ends to close.