Have you started making your holiday gifts yet? What?! It’s already that time of year again? I know, I know . . .
This is a project that i’ve been meaning to do for years – yes, literally years – but it takes a few weeks to complete, and I’d never had my act together far enough in advance. But this year . . . this year I remembered! And I took myself and my baby to the liquor store, and we got us some vodka, and we went to the herb shoppe, and we got us some vanilla beans, and we got this project started a whole whopping 6 weeks ahead of deadline. Woo-hoo!
And now you, dear friends, have 5 weeks, which is plenty of time to make your own lovely, handcrafted, better-than-anything-you-could-ever-buy, delicious vanilla extract. Such a sweet and simple gift; both practical and charming (the best kind!)
But don’t wait on this one! 4 weeks is really the minimum amount of time required. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Vodka (you can use this website to determine which brands are vegan!)
- Vanilla beans
- Lime (for the cocktail, obvi)
* Note: I used 4 vanilla beans in a standard 750 ml bottle. Adjust the amount of beans to suit the volume of vodka you use; err on the side of extra beans.
To make your extract, begin by pouring off about 2 shots worth of vodka. Maybe pour them over ice into a swanky lowball (or small mason jar if you’re a hippie like me). Maybe add some lime soda and a liberal splash of lime. Maybe . . . wait what? Oh yes, the extract.
Cut the vanilla beans into pieces. Drop them in the vodka.
Out of sight, out of mind. Put the bottle away for 4-6 weeks. When you pull it out again, it will be a dark amber color (I’ll show you mine when it’s done!)
Pour the solution through a mesh strainer or cheesecloth, then transfer to small bottles. Pretty bottles work well if you’re gifting. If you’re just making this for yourself (it’s significantly cheaper than buying real vanilla extract), you can simply use old maple syrup bottles, old salad dressing bottles, or even old mason jars. The end, so easy.