Handmade Vanilla

I stumbled across a recipe to make your own vanilla at Smitten Kitchen which is a beautiful food blog I love to look at for inspiration.  It is not much of a recipe since it has only 2 ingredients: vanilla beans and vodka.  I searched the internet for ratios and where to buy the best beans.  I bought mine at Beanilla.  I got Madagascar, Mexican, Tongan, Tahitian and organic Indian beans.  I used a very highly rated vodka from Iceland that said it tasted like a melted snowflake!  This would be perfect as I wanted the alcohol to be as neutral as possible.  Plus the bottle is so pretty! The hard part of making your own vanilla is not the actual making of it but the WAITING!!  Some people say 6 weeks, 2 months or 6 months.  Mine has been sitting for about 6 weeks and I don’t think it will be ready for a while, so I am going to wait for 6 months!

Here are some pictures of what I made:


This is the baseline color just after I added the split beans.





This is the cute label I made!


This is the only picture of a vanilla bean I have.  The ones I bought from Beanilla came vacuumed packed in plastic in bulk and I was so excited to get these soaking that I have no pictures.




Here are my cute little 7 ounce bottles with the fun top that I love, sitting patiently in the box in the corner of my closet.





Here are my 25 organic Indian beans in the Reyka Vodka.  Love this bottle!



These are the varieties I made.  These are about 6 weeks into the process.  The multi-cultural bottles have a mixture of the countries’ beans, one I experimented with a excellent quality whiskey to spice it up and the other in the Reyka Vodka.  Time will tell which is best.  So far the Tongan beans have a rich flavor and the Tahitian is kind of flowery.  The Mexican is sweet and the Madagascar is traditional.  The directions say to shake the bottles weekly.  In the first few days after making this I would shake the bottles daily and smell each one.  I finally had to stop this obsessive practice and just wait!   I will update this post in 6 months!