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Can I make vanilla extract in the vodka bottle?

Is there any reason that I can't simply insert my split vanilla beans directly into a just-opened vodka bottle?

All the recipes I've seen instruct using sterilized jars and such. I will eventually transfer the extract into small sterilized bottles (I am making wedding favors), but for the aging process, can I just use the vodka bottles?

asked by Cristina Sciarra over 3 years ago
8 answers 2549 views
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added over 3 years ago

I don't see why not. Generally people make smaller amounts of vanilla at a time, but it sounds like you will need a lot of it for your wedding favors.

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HalfPint is a trusted home cook.

added over 3 years ago

Yes, I've done it and it's fine. You are putting vanilla into vodka which is at least 45% (90 proof)alcohol. No microorganism or bacteria is going to be growing in that concentration of alcohol. I've even used an opened bottle of vodka to make bathtub gin.

Great idea for wedding favors!

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added over 3 years ago

I regularly use a hotel-minibar-sized vodka bottle with one or two vanilla beans (depending on size/potency/preference) to make extract. Works great, so I don't see why you couldn't scale up.

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Trena Heinrich

Trena is a trusted source on general cooking.

added over 3 years ago

Yes, you absolutely can use the vodka bottle. I have been making my own vanilla extract for years using this method. One problem I've encountered using a vodka bottle is my inability to access the vanilla pods once I've put them in the jar due to the narrow neck. Other than that it's a great system, but one might consider using a wide mouth canning jar for easier access.

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added over 3 years ago

I would check Google for some direction because, to me, putting some vanilla pods in vodka is going to give you a very nice vanilla flavored vodka rather than vanilla extract.
Therefore might mess up any baking recipe.

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added over 3 years ago

You're absolutely right, if you only leave them in for a week or two... Most recipes call for at least 6-8 weeks of steeping before it's properly an extract. Check the ingredients on grocery store extract: it's just alcohol, vanilla, and coloring.

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added over 3 years ago

Yes I've done this! Just make sure you put about 10-12 beans per 26oz bottle, I think it takes about 3 months to get good vanilla

16f72ccb 3197 434b a946 8e9e68a3715f  cristina 014 web final
added over 3 years ago

Thanks everyone! It took a while to split all those vanilla beans, but now all I have to do is wait!

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