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DIY Bourbon-Vanilla Extract

18 December 2012

Our bourbon vanilla extract
Mr. Collier and started searching in the Fall for a Christmas gift project for our co-workers that was sweet, from the heart but inexpensive. As scientists, we were most intrigued by the the process of making vanilla. The recipe seemed straightforward and involved a lot of sitting and waiting for the flavors to become extracted from the vanilla beans. Efficient, inexpensive and heartfelt. Check cubed! 

From the get-go, it appeared that there are two basic camps of vanilla extract making. Both use booze but differ in the type that is preferred. Vodka is an easy choice being a clear spirit and the vanilla making process is observable because of the color change. Also, the vanilla has very little flavor to compete with when using vodka. We opted for the second, if you didn't guess from the title of this post and used bourbon as our base. After purchasing a 750 ml bottle of Buffalo Trace (~$20), we ordered the Madagascar vanilla beans for approximately $11 and Boston brown bottles for $12 from Amazon

We poured off a bit of bourbon from the bottle and inserted about 8-10 vanilla beans sliced open both lengthwise and on each end. That's about it. For two months the bottle sat in our dark kitchen cabinet and we would occasionally invert it to add some variety to the process. And we did take a few free sniffs during the extraction process. I wish I could make my home smell that delicious! 

What we ended up with were 8 mostly-full bottles of bourbon-vanilla extract. I found a super cute Christmas tag printable on Pinterest and wrote a little note on the back of each indicating what we had made. The suggested use was for baking but this would equally work to flavor coffee.  

1 comment:

  1. Kyle and I can't wait to try ours out. Thank you so much! :)