Traditionally people use vodka when making their own vanilla extract, but I love to use bourbon. This is because the vanilla will have a much more well- rounded rich flavor along with all the vanilla goodness.
Why I Make My Own:
- Making my own saves money.
- Yes, vanilla beans are expensive, but so is vanilla extract and this way I can make a large batch.
- A homemade bottle of vanilla extract is the perfect holiday gift. I like to make the bottles about two months ahead of time so the bourbon really takes on all the vanilla flavor.
- It lasts for years if left in a cool dark place.
- Once a year I will add more bourbon along with another vanilla bean or two. This is really an investment that keeps giving over time.
- 2 to 5 vanilla beans Madagascar or Tahitian (minimum of 2 vanilla beans)
- 8 to 16 oz of Bourbon whiskey (enough to fill up your vanilla bottle)
- 8 to 16 oz glass bottle or ball jar
- Cutting board
- Cut one vanilla bean lengthwise down the middle, then carefully scrape out the seeds.
- Place the cut open vanilla beans and the seeds inside the bottle. Repeat with more vanilla beans.
- Once the beans are in the bottle, fill the bottle with bourbon.
- With the top firmly in place, shake the mixture until well mixed.
- Label the bottle with the date and store in a cool dark place.
- In 2 months use it in your own baking or gift it to a loved one.
Photographs by Elizabeth Poett and Standish Hicks