Saturday, December 3, 2011

DIY Christmas Gift: Vanilla Extract

Like most of you, every Christmas I'm on the hunt for a fun handmade gift to make. I scour the Internet (and my memory) for any ideas that are unique, easy, cute and fairly inexpensive.  This year, I came to the conclusion that I would be making vanilla extract.

First I bought 20 4-oz Clear Boston Round Bottles from Specialty Bottles and a 1/2 lb pack of Vanilla Beans from  1/2 lb is roughly 45 beans. I also got a handle of vodka. 

First you'll need to cut the vanilla beans in half lengthwise and then crosswise and divide them among the bottles. I used 3 beans for each bottle.

Then pull out your funnel and pour roughly 1/2 cup of vodka into each container.

Next - put on the cap and wait!!! Easy-peasy, right?

The steeping effect sets in quickly. The vodka goes from clear to a pretty amber color. Ideally the vanilla should steep for at least a month, till the vanilla is a dark brown. The longer it steeps the stronger the vanilla flavor.

For labels,  I did a google image search for vintage vanilla lables.  I found one right away that I liked and photoshopped a  list of ingredients along with a Christmas note from Joe and I over the physician's information (apperently doctor's distributed vanilla back in the day?)  Regarding word choice, I was utilizing these gifts for business collegues and older family folk, so I listed the ingredients as "Good Tidings, Ethyl Alcohol, and Vanillas Beans".  I also added a few bows with ribbon and raffia.    
  That's it!!! Merry Christmas!


  1. Great idea! Did you put the entire pod into the bottles, or just the beans from the pods? And did you leave it in the bottle when they were packaged or strain them out?

  2. Hey there! Thanks for the inquiry. I left the whole pod in the bottle!