Christmas in July – Homemade Vanilla Extract

With just under 5 months until Christmas, it might be time to start thinking about gifts for your friends and family. That’s what I was doing about a year ago. I am definitely a big planner and had decided early in 2009 to make as many Christmas gifts as I could. Some of these gifts required quite a bit of time and some were easy to throw together. This week I’ll be sharing the gifts that I gave our family and friends last year.

The first gift came about due to a sale on Amazon. There was a great deal on 1/2 lb of vanilla beans. I started with two bottles of vodka and the vanilla beans. Once the beans were split (but not scraped) and placed in the vodka, the bottles just had to sit in a cool dark place. Every couple of weeks Hubby would pull the vodka out of the closet and shake the crap out of it. A couple months later the vanilla extract was ready to go!

I ordered some bottles online and made some labels for the bottles to finish off the look. I also placed two vanilla beans into each bottle.

I love that the vanilla extract tastes so good, has the specks of fresh vanilla beans, and will essentially never run out. If the vanilla starts running low, you can just top it off with some more vodka. As you use vanilla beans, just throw the pods in the bottle to replenish the vanilla flavor.

One Year Ago: Goat Cheese Potato Salad and Salmon with Yellow Pepper and Cilantro Pesto
Two Years Ago: Champagne Cupcakes

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11 Responses to “Homemade Ginger Beer”

  1. #
    Shannon — May 23, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    honey and thyme sound like amazing additions! and i had to laugh at 50 granules of yeast 🙂 will definitely have to try this!

    • beantownbaker — May 23rd, 2013 @ 9:03 pm

      Yea, it’s definitely comical. I feel bad for the people who didn’t read the comments to find out that you really shouldn’t try to count out 50 granules of yeast!

  2. #
    Nutmeg Nanny — May 27, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    This sounds awesome 🙂 I’ll have to pass this recipe on to my husband!

    • beantownbaker — June 10th, 2013 @ 1:08 pm

      It’s seriously so spicy and awesome. I can’t wait to try more flavor combinations.

  3. #
    Susan — September 14, 2013 at 10:31 am

    Hi, I hope I’m not too late to receive a response. I read just about every post on Jeffrey’s blog and I’m a bit confused. Are the given quantities weight or volume (i.e. fluid ounces). I’m used to ml and grams… :-S
    Thanks Susan

    • beantownbaker — September 14th, 2013 @ 1:32 pm

      I can’t comment on what is in Jeffrey’s blog. The recipe in this post is referring to liquid ounces.

  4. #
    Brian — April 30, 2014 at 8:47 pm

    CAUTION!!! I made my first two bottles this past Monday and followed the instructions exactly. I even purchased the flip top bottles recommended on this site from Amazon. Tonight, after exactly 48 hours, I pulled them out of my kitchen cabinet and placed them in the fridge. Not 10 seconds after I shut the door, I heard a loud pop. Both bottles had exploded in the fridge! There was glass and ginger beer everywhere. My fridge walls are dented from the explosion. If those bottles had been in my hand when they exploded, I would be in the ER right now. I STRONGLY RECOMMEND THAT ANYONE MAKING THIS RECIPE USE PLASTIC BOTTLES. DO NOT TAKE A CHANCE WITH GLASS.

    • beantownbaker — May 12th, 2014 @ 4:52 pm

      Oh wow. Sorry to hear that. I have only made this ginger beer twice and both times I used glass bottles with no issue.

  5. #
    angela — May 25, 2014 at 11:16 am

    Hey friends!

    So how much raw ginger did you end up needing to extract 2 oz of juice?

    Also in relation to the glass bottles, you could do this in a glass wine making carboy container with a valve on the top to allow the fermentation a little release. Then transfer to glass bottles and refrigerate to avoid explosion. Check at the wine shops, these materials aren’t too pricey, but can save some disasters!


    • beantownbaker — September 2nd, 2014 @ 7:01 pm

      I really can’t remember how much ginger I needed. It was quite a bit though.

  6. #
    Bella — May 25, 2017 at 6:14 pm

    A couple tips for those of you wanting to make this in glass bottles. Use only flip top bottles ( I use a dark green bottle of Trader Joe’s ginger brew- good stuff by the way). Also, during the 48 hours, open the cap a few times which let’s a little bit of the carbonation out (even just every 12 or 16 hours should be enough)Then shake it gently a few times before storing on the fridge. This way, they is much less chance of any explosions.

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