How to Make Vanilla Vodka

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Cutting the bean lengthwise exposes the vodka to more flavor.
Cutting the bean lengthwise exposes the vodka to more flavor. (Image: Torsten Schon/Hemera/Getty Images)

Infused or flavored spirits have become as important to cocktail culture as martini glasses and lemon twists. Vanilla-infused vodka is one of the standards because it mixes well with a host of other ingredients. Vodka also is one of the easiest liquors to use as a medium and vanilla is one of the simplest flavors to infuse. With the right equipment and proper amount of time, you can make world-class vanilla vodka at home.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 vanilla beans
  • Paring knife
  • Cutting board
  • Paper coffee filter
  • Funnel
  • Empty 750 ml bottle

Place a vanilla bean on the cutting board. Gently cut in half lengthwise with paring knife, exposing as much of the interior as possible. Repeat with second vanilla bean.

Open the bottle of vodka. Place the beans inside. Allow at least 1/4 inch of space at the top of the bottle neck. If needed, pour some of the vodka out. Replace the top and shake gently for the bean halves to spread out. Place the bottle in a cool, dark storage area.

Open the bottle once daily. The interaction between the beans and vodka will create slightly increased pressure, which must be alleviated, especially if the bottle is full. Infuse for 10 days.

Line a funnel with a paper coffee filter. Place the funnel into an empty bottle. Gently and slowly pour the infused vodka through the filter, cleaning it of floating residue and beans.

Store the infused vodka in a dark, cool place or the refrigerator

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References

  • Luscious Liqueurs: 50 Recipes for Sublime and Spirited Infusions to Sip and Savor; A. J. Rathburn
  • Bartending for Dummies; Ray Foley
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