Making vanilla extract at home is almost unworthy of a blog post because it is so easy, but bottling and gifting it is so cute, I couldn’t resist. This year, I decided to make a bunch for my work family and friends that I usually don’t give gifts to, but always wish I had, and it worked out perfectly.
Makes 15 (4 oz) Bottles
1/4 lb Vanilla Beans
1.75 Liters Alcohol (Vodka, Bourbon, Brandy, or Rum)
Patience (2 months worth)
(If you aren’t making this in bulk, or making a different quantity, I’d plan on using 3 or 4 vanilla beans for every 8 ounces of alcohol.)
Separate the vanilla beans into two equal sized piles, one pile for each jar. Using your scissors, split the vanilla beans lengthwise, leaving the top 1/2 inch connected at the top. Place the vanilla beans in the jars and fill to the top with alcohol (I used Trader Joe’s “Vodka of the Gods”. While I know you can use any 80 proof alcohol, from what I can tell, Vodka seems to be the standard.)
Close off the jar and store in a cool dark place. This should live in your cabinet for at least a month, giving it a shake about once a week, before you plan on bottling it.
Once the vanilla extract is ready, open the small 4 oz jars and place 2-3 of the vanilla beans directly in each. This will allow the extract to continue to infuse, as well as allow the user to add small bits of vodka to the bottle to create an “everlasting” vanilla extract. Of course, it wont last forever, and the beans will run out of oomfuh… but we will just call it everlasting because that just makes it seem so much cooler. Using a small funnel, add the extract to each of the bottles. Some people prefer to strain it, but that just seems like crazy talk, so don’t do that. That’s like removing the goldflakes from the Goldschlager…
I created my labels in Photoshop directly and printed them onto the Avery kraft paper; however, there are many free sites that exist for label creation. There are even some free templates available that can be customized, if you’re not savvy in design. If you’re really at a loss, I have my label saved in Photoshop. While I won’t create a totally new custom label for you, I am willing to update mine with your info and send you the jpg, if you’re really good at begging and tell me I’m pretty.
One last note: I’d recommend not putting the labels on the bottles until they have been filled, or they might not look so pretty in the end.
Vanilla Beans: $54.00
Total per bottle: $5.74
Cheap, good quality, and pretty… just like me.