First, you’ll want to cut the vanilla beans (pods) in half crosswise. Then take each half and starting from about 1/2 inch down from the end, cut a slice lengthwise. They’ll end up resembling an old fashioned clothes pin.
At this point, I place 2-3 of these 1/2 bean pods into the small bottles. However, some people prefer to scrape the little seeds out of the beans and add them to the bottles separately from the pods. It’s true that this does seems to let the vanilla infuse the alcohol faster; I just haven’t bothered.
Now that the pods (and seeds if you separated them) are inside the bottles, place the funnel into the bottle neck and slowly pour in vodka. You want to fill it so that the beans are entirely covered, but leave some space at the top so that you can shake the liquid around every now and again to help extract the flavor.
Seal the top, and you’re done! I give the bottles a shake every few days just to help things along. The extract is considered complete after about eight weeks in the bottles and at that time, you can either remove the beans or leave them inside for stronger flavor. If you do leave them in the bottle, you may have to “top off” the alcohol once in a while to keep the pods covered. Make or print your own labels and you have a special gift for the holidays or the foodie in your life!
Want to know more about vanilla beans? Check out The Vanilla Bean Orchid.
If you’re curious to know where vanilla beans come from and what makes them so expensive, check out my article The Vanilla Bean Orchid.
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