Bourbon Vanilla Extract

16 Feb

vanilla bean (Photo credit: missmareck)

Early in 2013, I joined a facebook group called “Kombucha Nation,” thanks to one of my blog readers who exchanged SCOBY with me.  The group has been overwhelming to keep up with, but over the months I have found some useful tips.  One of the best was a recipe for homemade vanilla extract.  The original recipe post on Kombucha Nation used vodka as a base alcohol.

Neutral spirits like vodka are useful for an extract when you want the purity of your infused herb to stand out.  My “improved” recipe below features bourbon, however.   Bourbon makes the extract more complex, although potentially not as versatile for baking. Recently, I put some bourbon vanilla in my egg nog.  The result: delicious!

Vanilla beans are expensive, but considering the cost of a good vanilla extract, this recipe probably will save you money.  Also, vanilla beans can be reused.  Mountain Rose Herbs is a great online resource for reasonably priced herbs, including vanilla beans, and no, they have not paid me to say that!

Bourbon Vanilla Extract: 

Cut five vanilla beans into quarters.  Place them in about 12 oz. of good  bourbon.  I used Maker’s mark, and I placed the whole mixture in a used beer bottle with a cork to seal it.  Let the beans infuse for several months, and shake the bottle when you think of it. Check the smell and taste test for done-ness.

I let mine go for 6 months before I used it.  More neutral spirits like vodka can be more ready in as quickly as 1-2 months, but a stronger flavored alcohol will require longer infusion to really capture the flavor of the vanilla.  Alternative:  Rum vanilla is also supposed to be yummy.

Vanilla plant

Vanilla plant (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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