June 28, 2012

➷ Homemade Vanilla Extract + Printable ➹

I had an interesting morning yesterday. It all started at 11am, when I got a call from my hubby, Z.
"I feel so dirty," he shouted into the phone before I could even say "Hello?" Surprised, my eyebrows raised and I could feel my eyes widen with fear, before he clarified with, "I just bought a big bottle of Brandy from the liquor store!" I waited a moment more, a smile pressing on my lips. "I've never bought liquor," he shouted. Now I'm laughing, I waited for his rantings to end. But then I learn that my husband, who served 6 years in the Marines, has never walked into a liquor store and purchased anything alcoholic, especially not hard booze.
It was no surprise to me {or anyone else with a heartbeat} when he explained how strangely everyone looked at him as he picked up the large, brandy bottle, all hunched over it, checking over his shoulder nervously, as he shouted at the clerk, "HERE'S MY ID!!!" Simultaneously he presses his thick, black-rimmed, "crazy man" glasses back up his nose.

Apparently the clerk checked it, as the "Hunchback of Berger Dame," snatched the brown, paper bagged bottle up, HISSED, and scurried out of the store. Pressing my number on auto dial, he was shouting, "I FEEL SO DIRTY," running to the Jeep. Ah... my hubby! Step back ladies, he's all mine;-) Such. A. Ham. 
Anyway, it's not my usual post day- but I thought I'd share the little gift I'd just whipped up. The idea's not unique- I saw pics all over Pinterest at Christmas time- but I thought I'd share my version along with some labels I made- for YOU. 

What You Need: 
Brandy or Vodka
Funky Bottles
Vanilla Beans- I found mine through Amazon

Making the extract is beyond easy. Some tutorials say to cut open the bean, while others say to just throw them in whole. The flavor is in the seeds, inside the bean- So I guess, do what you think is best.

 I kept mine whole. For my bottles, I put a few beans in each one. Fill the rest of the bottle with brandy or vodka. I heard brandy will taste better- so I went with that.
The mixture needs to cure or set for about 6 weeks {or more} before the rich bean's flavor will extract. Use it before that and you'll just be getting drunk! ;-)
 Store the bottles in a cool and dark place, like a closet, while it brews. Which is also a funny story, because as we closed the closet door, my panicked husband threw his hands up in the air and said, "Great, now were closet drinkers." I bit my lip trying not to laugh, but then he chased that with (no pun intended), "It's such a slippery slope." I couldn't help it, I lost it and laughed so hard my ribs hurt.

I found a few downloadable labels online, then adapted one into what I wanted.  
You can PRINT YOUR OWN, if you want to!

I added a "to" & "from" section on the label for those of you giving them as gifts- like me. If you don't need that part- just cut on the line instead, leaving that section out. I think these make super gifts- that's probably why they were all over Pinterest! {hee, hee}
One of the reasons this is also a great DIY and present is that the beans are reusable. They will actually keep for years! When your bottle is 1/3 full, you can add some more alcohol and keep an ongoing supply. 
It's basically a 1 time cost. Because of this and that we are giving them away, I invested in some gourmet vanilla beans. Pretty sweet, huh? 
*I made sure to add the directions for refilling onto the label- that way recipients know exactly what they're getting and what to do with it.

My little grandma is back in town- so I'm having a great week showing her the sights and playing lots of Scrabble. 

If you live here in Utah- make sure you check out the dinner that Lindsay {Southern Lovely} and I have put together. Tons of great sponsors have don't FREE SWAG for the attendees!! {YAY!} 
I hope YOU can come!!


  1. What a great gift idea. Have to get on this now, so they can be ready for Christmas!

  2. Becca,
    LOVE this idea.I am sure it tastes great too.We always add this to our french toast...YUM!

  3. Great idea and thanks for the adorable printable!

  4. Love the label! Super cute idea!

  5. Isn't homemade vanilla the best!!! We have been making it for about 7 years. I have to admit I did finally get new beans as our old ones just plain gave out. Yep there is only so much flavoring one can "squeeze" out of vanilla beans. However we did let them dry out, scraped out the innards, added it to sugar, blended it up and now add it recipes. Delicious!

    I had to laugh at your husband's reaction because that was me. Yep we are teetotalers as well!!! The one thing we've noticed, the longer you let it steep the more depth the flavour develops.

    Thank you for sharing your label!! When we print it off can we change the "brewing" time? I let ours develop for 6 months to a year. Thanks!!

  6. Brilliant gift idea! I'm definitely going to try this out. I must say that your husband is hilarious, that was the cutest story ever to accompany your project.

  7. he he he what a funny story :) I love your cute bottles and labels!

  8. Those are really cute labels! I included a similar recipe in my cookbook and it's delicious.

  9. Gorgeous labels and a great gift for bakers!

    I will be pinning this to my Pinterest craft board. Thanks for sharing.

    Found you through the Whipperberry Link party.

  10. Aaah thanks for sharing with us! This is going to be the BEST Christmas gift ever- my sisters will love it! Great tute- and thanks for the printable :)

    PS: Becca! I cannot stop laughing at your hubby's experience buying alcohol! HA! I have never done that either but luckily I'm new in town and won't have to hide or duck out of the store quickly... people will assume I'm the town drunk and will talk about me behind my back, sure (population less than 1k here!) but at least I'll have my dignity since I don't know anyone staring back at this Mormon mom with a 2 month old in her arms buying Brandy! HA!

  11. This is so awesome Becca and the labels are absolutely darling! I am so doing this for Christmas gifts and we love that you shared this at Inspiration Friday this week! :-)

  12. P.S. The first time my hubby went in our local liquor store he ran into our pastor's wife who was going into the grocery store next door. Talk about feeling "dirty"! LOL!

  13. Reusable? Gifts? Perfect!

    I love vanilla extract and plan to make these - the labels are just vanilla frosting on top!

    Tell Quasimoto he really rings my bell!

  14. Haha, this post totally cracked me up!! I can totally picture him acting all suspicious. Haha!!! CUTE lables, what a great gift!

  15. Olá, sou portuguesa e vivo em portugal,adoro o seu blog que descobri hoje,sinto-me inspirada com tudo o que vi,obrigada. TENHO PENA DE NÃO MORAR PERTO DE SI PARA PODER CONVIVER DE PERTO CONSIGO,XAU.

  16. I don't know where I found you but this English miss loves your blog .
    I'm off to look for Vanilla beans

  17. Looks beautiful Rebecca! I bet it tastes even better. Love it. xoxo

  18. I made vanilla a few months ago and it is beyond amazing...the best. Your labels are so cute...might have t use those when I give this yummy goodness as gifts!

  19. Love it! Your bottles and labels are so pretty! Definitely going to make this. I have read that vanilla mixed with some other things is a natural mosquito repellant.

  20. Oh my gosh these are beautiful! And I'm sure it's delicious. Love the printable, thanks for sharing!

  21. I made vanilla last year for neighbors as Christmas gifts..they loved it (I made mine with vodka) Love your labels!

  22. I'm making vanilla right now, too. It has been brewing for about 7 weeks. I figure it will be ready when I want to bake holiday cookies. Such fun!!!!

  23. This is amazing! I love the labels. I was thinking that homemade vanilla extract would make a great make-ahead Christmas gift. I'm getting right on this. Your bottles are beautiful!

    I would love it if you would share this at my new Smart Solutions linky party. You can link up here:


    Have a great day!

  24. This made me giggle so much. I came for the free label (saw it pinned) but loved the story! Reminds me of the first time my hubby had to buy condoms! LOL! Shy guys, what are you gonna do but love 'em! We've made it 30 years. Guess I'm keeping him. :)

    Thanks for the label and recipe. I am making some of these babies up for Christmas.

    I'm following you now. How could I not after such a great story? ;)


Thoughts? Questions? Opinions? Let's talk about it!