I like to brew my own vanilla. It sounds way more complicated than it actually is. Really, all you need is time, patience and two ingredients – vodka and vanilla beans. I’ve made vanilla in all sorts of bottles over the years, but I prefer these 8.5 ounce swing bottles I bought off Amazon. You can get clear or amber glass (more commonly recommended for vanilla).
For the vodka, buy the absolute cheapest you can find (70-90 proof) and a large bottle of it since it keeps forever. And for the beans, you can buy either grade A or B – the biggest difference between the two types, aside from cost, is the appearance. Grade A is more oily and grade B is more dry. Both can be used to make vanilla but know that if you use grade A, you’re paying for slightly more water. For this latest batch, I bought grade A because that’s all our local store had. But I typically buy grade B.
Once you make your own vanilla, you’ll never buy it from the store again. It tastes 100x’s better homemade and cost efficient! They make a great gift for friends and family too!
- Madagascar vanilla beans (they are sold by weight, so I usually try to get about 6-10 beans per bag)
- Chop three beans into 1/2 slices – don’t split the beans. Add the bean pieces to each 8 ounce bottle.
- Fill bottle with vodka using a small funnel. Cover tightly. Repeat with additional bottles.
- Shake everyday for at least 2 months. The longer the beans brew, the better the taste.
- Enjoy your vanilla in everything from baked goods to coffee!
Hi Julie. It’s Ellen. Question: My mom wants to make vanilla. I see that you make it in smaller individual 8 oz bottles. Is that approach better than brewing it in one big vodka bottle and separating later or does it not matter?
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Hi! Either way will work. Just add more beans so it balances the flavor if you make a bigger batch that way. She’ll love doing this! I haven’t bought vanilla in years!!