First off, let me state that you have forgotten more about backpacking than I will ever know. I really enjoy your frequent posts here and your willingness to share your knowledge. Thank you. As to your question about more efficient alcohol use, I will answer it the best I can an with any luck, won't be laughed off these forums.
To become more efficient I did several (mostly common sense) things:
a) Like you guessed, I cooked often but I didn't always cook. I carried food out with me of towns that I could just carry and eat. Fresh fruit, a sandwich, that type of thing. Might only save fuel for a meal or two, but hey, it all adds up. This was much easier to do in Northern California and Southern Oregon when late summer weather made for some very balmy evenings. Harder to do in Washington, when we had long stretches in the 20s and low 30s in a deep cold spell for early October.
b) Use of a Caldera Cone and setting up in places where it was not breezy. I loved this system - to me, much less fiddle factor than most windscreens and worked better. I like the entire concept - the stand, the customized design for the pot, the efficiency. The only downsize it took more room to store than other systems.
c) Use of a wide, rather than a narrow, pot. Yes, it weighed more (Evernew 1.4 L) and took more volume but it also has more surface area and in my most unscientific testing, seems to boil much faster than the narrower profile pots.
d) Cooking with warmer water. Carry a bit of water with you beginning in late afternoon for the sole purpose of cooking. The ambient air temperature / sun will warms it up considerably, you waste a lot less fuel than heating up cold water.
e) Using less water and less alcohol when I cook. Seems fairly basic, but really, I would try to use the least water/alcohol necessary for the job. I also used a pot cozy, which would allow me to get the water to a boil, add the food and then put it in the cozy, allowing for food to "cook" when off the stove. A tiny plastic measure cup really works well. (Freezer bag cooking worked as well - used the cozy for the food bag.)
f) Cooking stuff that didn't need long to cook. I chose foods that minimized cooking times. Wasn't always the most nutritious, and I cringe to think what I consumed in vast quantities on that hike, but it's amazing what seems delicious after hiking 25 miles.
g) Quickly opening/closing alcohol container - it evaporates quickly and will absorb water from the air. I have no idea how much you will lose or how much of a difference this truly makes, but I was quick to open and close containers. And I found using an old plastic water bottle (one that was complete dried out) worked better than some of the HEET bottles, which sometimes leaked for whatever reason. Just mark the bottle with something to indicate that it is fuel, not water.)
h)If I were to do it again, I'd paint the bottom of my cooking pot!
What techniques and ideas do you employ to gain greater stove efficiency?