the easiest homemade vanilla extract directions

I was talking with my mom last weekend about doling out my vanilla extract at Christmas (I didn't have enough with 24 of them.  :) ) and she wondered if I could just give her some beans and she could add them to some tiny Absolut bottles she had been saving.  Brilliant, I thought, brilliant!

I went to the liquor store on Thursday and got some tiny New Amsterdam bottles, on a worker's recommendation, for only $.99 each!   These mini vodka bottles are smaller (about 1.7 oz. each) than the bottles I ordered online but still make for a nice gift...especially when you figure that they can be refilled for years.  And they are readily available at most liquor stores...I think that's the best part.  :) 

Oh yeah, and they're pretty cute...

I would still recommend ordering your beans online to get the best price as they are ridiculously expensive at the grocery store!  I bought in bulk from Amazon and the fat and fragrant beans ended up being about $.50 each.  These minis only need 3/4 of one bean so you can make a lot of gifts with 50 vanilla beans.  :)  (maybe share an order with a friend?)  You can also order smaller quantities but you will pay a bit more.

So, here's a quick rundown:

  • buy 50mL vodka bottle (or "nip" as my sister informed me they are called) and open
  • cut a vanilla bean into 4 equal pieces 
  • slit each piece up the middle about 3/4 of the way exposing the good seeds inside
  • place 3 (or 4) pieces inside the nip and put cap on tightly
  • shake once a week or whenever you think of it...should be ready to use as extract in 2 months
One of the best parts of this gift is how it keeps on giving, in my opinion.  I saw instructions similar to the ones below on another blog and suggest that you enclose them with your bottle so people know they can refill them.  If you are just making them now for Christmas - no worries!  Just put a "don't use until" date on your tags!  Here's an example:

"This vanilla extract needs to steep for about 2 months.
It will be ready to enjoy after January 30th, 2012.

It contains quality vodka and (insert type here) vanilla beans.
When it gets about 20% low, simply add more unflavored
vodka and it should be ready the next time you need it.
You will have delicious vanilla extract for years!

Merry Christmas!"


I can't wait to give these to my friends and family this Christmas.  I hope you use and enjoy these simple instructions and here's a big thank you to my mom for the idea!!  :)
Come back tomorrow for a give away!  

I wonder what it might be???  


Linking up with Think Pink Sundays this week.  Go look and see all the amazing ideas people submit...




  1. LOVE this, Steph! Thanks so much for the instructions, this might be the year people actually get vanilla from me!! And I LOVE the idea of using nips, no bottles to purchase!


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