Madagascar Vanilla Made with Vodka–A Special Homemade Holiday Gift

A couple of years ago, I won a bottle of homemade Madagascar Vanilla in a giveaway hosted by another blogger.  I have to tell you, I squeaked every last drop of vanilla out of that bottle.  For baking, there is nothing as good as pure vanilla extract; nothing…

Making homemade vanilla is a simple DIY project.  And if you get started right now, you’ll have a great holiday gift to give those bakers on your list.  And did I mention how delicious homemade vanilla extract tastes in French toast?

What you will need:

(8) 6 oz. Bottles & Corks, or Caps

(1) bottle 1.75 Liter of Vodka  (I used Barton’s Vodka)

(12) Madagascar Vanilla Beans

Sharp Pairing Knife

Cutting Board

Funnel

Wash all bottles with hot soapy water and let air dry.  Slice vanilla beans in half lengthwise; then cut in half.  Place 1 1/2 beans in each bottle.  Fill each bottle with vodka.  Wipe edge of bottles with warm clean cloth and place a cork in each one.   Store in dark place; uncork in 3 months.

This picture above was taken right after making the extract.

Once you make the extract you will need to decide how you want to label it.  I opted to keep it simple, and made my tags out of cardstock.  I used my Cricut cutter to make my tags, and then I stamped the word Vanilla on each tag using my alphabet stamps and maroon ink.  On the back, I printed the date that the vanilla may be opened.  To finish them off, I punched a star hole in the top of each tag so it could accommodate a ribbon.

Tell me, what baker wouldn’t want a bottle of this in their stocking?

My vanilla now 10 days old.  It will get darker and stronger as time passes.  I can’t wait to pop the cork and use this in a batch of my favorite sugar cookies.

What kind of treat would you make using homemade vanilla extract?

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Getting into the Spirits

How do you convince a girl that loves her wine that she ought to give vodka, whiskey, and gin a chance?  Take her spirit tasting at Myer Farm Distillers on the west side of Cayuga Lake in Ovid, NY – that’s how!  

No, I’ve never been a “whiskey girl”.  But I have to admit that I thoroughly enjoyed the Blueberry Orange Vodka, John Myer Rye Whiskey, and Myer Farm Gin that I recently got the chance to sample at this fairly new Finger Lakes distillery.

Tastings were 3 for $3.00.  A fair price for (what I dare say are) some of the finest spirits I’ve ever tasted.  Of the three spirits I sampled, the John Myer Rye Whiskey was my favorite – “pour me another!”

The most unique flavor of the tasting goes to Myer Farm Gin which I actually enjoyed because of the delicious unique herbal finish.  There has to be something healing about this gin! 

And lastly, I would never turn down a screwdriver mixed with Myer Farm Blueberry Orange Vodka for brunch, or any other time for that matter – delicious!

One more thing worth mentioning. This distillery uses certified organic grain from their own farm which happens to be one of the largest and oldest currently operating in the Northeast.

So, if you are in the Finger Lakes Region and want to get into the spirits, I would suggest adding Myer Farm Distillers to your “must stop” list.