6 responses to “ Vanilla Rum Recipe ”
This recipe sounds great. I’ve been looking for ways to replicate the amazing vanilla rum I had in St. Barth. I’m definitely going to try this out.
I used rum that I had bought in Madagascar for $1 so it was pretty harsh but after mixing in the vanilla and water and leaving it for a year it was amazing. I drank most of it straight because it was so good but it also made a mean rum and coke. The key is to make a fair amount so that you can try it as you go along and also so that you can let some sit longer. The longer it sits the better, so be patient. You will be well rewarded.
I was searching for a Vanilla Rum Recipe and this way I found your blog. ThankYou! I’m from Romania, and here the vanilla beans are expensive (around 20 $ for 5 vanilla beans , 4 $ for one).
Interesting blog you have. I enjoy reading about your travels. Very, very neat!
I have a question regarding your vanilla rum recipe. I’d like to try the first method you describe. My question is; should I split the beans or cut them in anyway before adding them to the rum? Or do I just place them in the bottle without cutiing or slicing them?
Thank you for your attention!
you just place them in the bottle. depending on the quality you might be able to use them a second time.
Thanks so much for the reply! I’m just about to start my first batch! Blessings and be well.
LAST UPDATED: December 7, 2018 PUBLISHED: January 15, 2018 By Pam Greer 4 Comments As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Add a vanilla bean to some rum add in some steeping time and you’ve got the amazingly delicious Vanilla Infused Rum. Post may contain affiliate links.
I admit it, just like I read some books for their covers, I buy some books for their titles. When I saw Zen and Tonic by Jules Aron, I knew I had to get it. First of all, gin and tonics are my drink of choice, second of all I’m all about zen and third of all, I love a good pun. I already loved the title and the look of the book, so it was an extra bonus that it was filled with cocktails that I wanted to try. Seriously, I marked practically every single one of them! One of them that I marked was the Vanilla Infused Rum.
Click here to pin this Vanilla Infused Rum!
You might be thinking. why infuse rum? You can just go to the liquor store and buy it already infused. Well, for one thing it’s fun and so easy. You slit some vanilla beans, put them in a jar with some rum and let time do the work. You shake it every so often and watch it change from clear to a light brown vanilla infused rum. Also, you control the ingredients. There is no added sugar or anything else in it. Two ingredients: vanilla beans and rum.
And, while you are buying your vanilla beans, you might as well buy enough to make some Easy Homemade Vanilla Extract!
This would make wonderful gifts, you might want to bookmark this page for all your gift giving needs! Tied up with a vanilla bean on the front, it is soooo cute! You’ll have to turn in next week, when I use this yummy vanilla infused rum in a cocktail!
Published January 17, 2018 / Updated January 16, 2019 / By Debs / 5 Comments
If you learn how to make homemade vanilla extract you will gain one of the simplest kitchen skills. It’s such a quick and simple process that you’ll wonder why you haven’t always done it. You’ll also get a premium product for a fraction of the price.
Vanilla extract is THE building block to all baking. You will rarely if ever come across a baking recipe that doesn’t call for it. And it happens to be the world’s favourite flavour. But make no mistake. It’s a finicky fruit. Vanilla is produced from an orchid that flowers for one day out of every 365. That’s right. One chance a year to get it right. Get it wrong and you’ve had it. But, I get it. You didn’t come here for a lesson in how to grow vanilla. You came here to learn the “why you should and how to do it” of homemade vanilla extract.
How to make homemade vanilla extract:
Step 1. Slice your vanilla beans in half lengthwise and scrape out the vanilla seeds.
Step 2. Place those vanilla seeds along with the empty pods in a jar.
Step 3. Pour over the alcohol (vodka, bourbon or rum)
Step 4. Leave to distill for 8 weeks. Shake at least once or twice a week. When your vanilla is ready, you can choose to leave the beans in the jar, or take them out. I leave mine in the jar and just keep adding to it.
Why homemade vanilla is 1000x better than store bought:
Here’s the deal. When you make your own extracts, sauces, stocks and condiments you are 100% in control of what goes into them. So, when it comes to vanilla, that’s a really big deal. You can choose to use premium vanilla beans instead of B grade. This makes such a big difference when it comes to flavour and the extraction of the flavour. You choose how long to distill it and how strong you want it. How many beans you add to your vanilla is up to you.
To make homemade vanilla you only need 2 ingredients. Vanilla pods/beans and some 80 proof alcohol. You can choose from vodka, rum or bourbon. I personally choose vodka because of it’s neutral taste that can blend in to any recipe. Then you need to choose your vanilla bean. I could tell you to just pop some vanilla beans into a bottle and pour over some vodka. But you still maybe wouldn’t know what type of vanilla to choose and why. Vanilla is expensive. And in order to get your money’s worth you should know what type of bean to use to get the flavour that you’re looking for.
What type of bean to choose for homemade vanilla extract?
There are several different types of vanilla beans each with their own flavour profiles. Some are perfect for homemade vanilla extract. Some, not so much. I’ll break them down here and you can decide what flavours sound the most amazing to you. Vanilla can vary so much in flavour and aroma depending on where the beans were grown, how long they’ve been matured and if they’ve been dried properly. Here’s a list of some of the most popular varieties:
- Bourbon Vanilla Beans From Madagascar: The King of vanilla beans. These are the most popular variety of vanilla and are usually what commercial vanilla is made from. Bourbon vanilla is dark, rich and creamy with an almost overwhelmingly sweet, buttery scent. Bourbon vanilla can be used in anything from baking cakes and cookies, to savoury recipes and desserts.
- Indian Vanilla Beans: These vanilla beans are sweet, creamy and extremely aromatic. They definitely give Bourbon beans a run for their money in the quality for value category. These beans have a slightly woodsy undertone. Indian vanilla beans can be used in the same way as bourbon vanilla beans.
- Indonesian Vanilla Beans: Are sweet with a smoky/woodsy flavour. Their robust flavour and aroma make them perfect for pairing with rich desserts with deep caramel and dark chocolate.
- Mexican Vanilla Beans: Are often characterised with a smokey note to them. I personally love the complexity of the smokiness, but it’s not for everyone.
- Tahitian Vanilla Beans: These beans have a very delicate floral aroma that is often compared to something like dark cherries or wine. It’s very expensive and is mostly used for desserts and recipes where it does not require being warmed up, or cooked, so as not to ruin it’s floral notes. A menu or product that contains Tahitian vanilla will label it as such. When a restaurant uses Tahitian vanilla, they want you to know.
- Ugandan Vanilla Beans: These are my personal favourite because they have such a bold, earthy, chocolatey flavour. They produce a very high amount of vanillin in each bean making them amazing in rich desserts and chocolates.
How long should you let homemade vanilla extract distill?
Well, that’s up to you. But usually around the 8 week mark the vanilla has had most of it’s flavour extracted. You can definitely leave it longer if you prefer. But you may not see much of a difference between week 8 and week 16. When I make an initial batch I start from scratch. But I just keep adding spent vanilla beans to my jar and top up with more vodka as necessary. That way I never run out and I always have some pretty potent vanilla for all my recipes.
Your vanilla should last indefinitely if you store it in a cool, dark spot. Once the vanilla beans have been submerged in alcohol for 8 weeks their pretty disinfected and well preserved and the chances of them going mouldy are slim to none. So feel free to leave the beans in the bottle. Use a bottle with a plastic or rubber stopper rather than metal as the alcohol may rust it. These bottles are perfect!
Homemade vanilla makes such a lovely gift for any time of year. Print some labels for that extra personal touch.
Introduction: Alcohol-free Vanilla Extract
Vanilla extract is a wonderful ingredient added into nearly all classical American desserts. Cakes, cookies, muffins, to name a few. But did you know that the vanilla extract in your kitchen is made up of at least 35% alcohol? This is because alcohol is wonderful in extracting the flavor from herbs and botanics, and vanilla beans are no exception. However, if for whatever reason, you cannot or do not want so much alcohol in your vanilla extract, there is an alternative!
Slightly thicker in viscosity, alcohol-free vanilla extract is a perfect substitute to add into all your favorite baked goods. But if not alcohol, then what? Our surrogate will be Vegetable Glycerin! Let’s get started steeping!
Step 1: Materials
For this project, you will need:
a paring knife (fancy word for small knife)
3 vanilla beans
12 ounce glass container for storage
10 ounces of vegetable glycerin (via online retailers or Whole Foods)
Note on vegetable glycerin: please make sure it is food grade, if you are unsure ask an expert. I used Now Solutions 100% pure Vegetable Glycerin that is fine to consume internally as well as externally as a multi-purpose moisturizer. What exactly is vegetable glycerin? It is made from vegetable oil and is a by-product of soap manufacturing. The FDA has classified it as a carbohydrate. Its wonderfully popular in foods because of it’s sweet taste and the fact that it has less calories than sugar, but for topical use, glycerin absorbs moisture from the air around it. Pretty magical stuff, really.
Because of this, glycerin in any form, either animal or vegetable is a great substitute for alcohol in botanical extractions and herbal essences.
Let’s get started!
Step 2: Preparing Beans
Take three standard-length vanilla beans and cut them lengthwise down the center. Take one half and open it so the tiny pods are have more surface area to be extracted by the glycerin.
Place all 3 halves (or six total) lengths of bean and place them into a glass container.
Step 3: Adding Glycerin
Pour in 10 ounces of your vegetable glycerin into the glass container. Close lid, and shake slightly to make sure beans are well incorporated
Step 4: Steeping
Allow your vanilla beans to steep in the glycerin for a minimum of 8 weeks, after that you can use some of it and allow the rest to continue to steep, or use it all.
The best thing about the vanilla beans is that you can reuse them in another cycle of gylcerin steeping. After about two uses, though, I would recommend using new beans because their potency may wane.
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My mom just bought me some vanilla beans from Tahiti and said that the person she bought them from suggested using rum to make an extract. What type of rum should be used, white or dark rum, and is there a certain alcohol content that is needed to keep the extract stable and safe at room temperature?
6 Answers 6
I’ve been making rum-based vanilla extract successfully at home for years. Here are my recommendations. Your basic ingredients are 80 proof rum, sugar and vanilla beans. At the recommended proportions, the rum and sugar are plenty effective preservatives.
You can use either light or dark rum, but it should be a good “call” 80 proof rum and not a bargain bottom shelf rum. I most often use Ron Rico. If you use a golden rum, your extract will have a warmer taste suitable for spicy treats such as pumpkin pie or spice cookies. If you use a silver rum, your vanilla will have a purer taste suitable for whipped cream or custard sauces. I get rum that is bottled in glass, because I think plastic imparts an off flavor.
Your basic recipe will use a fifth less about a 1/2 cup of rum, four vanilla beans and 1/2 cup of organic sugar. We’ll go through that first, and then talk about variations.
Place your vanilla beans on a clean, flat cutting surface. Using a small, sharp knife, cut them first in 1/2 crosswise at the middle. Then take each 1/2 bean and insert the knife tip just 1/2 to an inch below the uncut end and carefully slice lengthwise to the send. Repeat this process gently and carefully on each piece unti each piece has four lengthwise quarters attached at the uncut end. Some recipes will tell you to scrape some or all of the paste out of the beans, but this is not necessary. The simply split beans will infuse the rum just fine.
Pour out about a cup of rum from your fifth and set aside. Put your sliced vanilla beans into the rum. Use a funnel to add 1/2 cup of organic sugar. Use the reserved rum you set aside to top the bottle back up. Recap the bottle and give it about 20 shakes to encourage the sugar to dissolve. Set aside in a dark cabinet or pantry. Take it out and give it a few shakes every week or so. Your vanilla will be usable but not fully extracted in about two months. It will continue to strengthen in flavor out to about 6 months of age.
Once you are satisfied with your extract, you can decant some and bottle it up in smaller bottles. It’s a very popular gift for bakers.
Once you have tried vanilla extract made this way, you will never want to go back to store-bought. The difference is indescribable.
You can vary the type of rum you use, silver or gold, and you can vary the sugar. I mostly stick with light organic sugar, because I think the taste is better. I like the combination of dark rum and brown organic sugar very well. You can also increase the sugar up to about 2/3 cup in a fifth bottle, but I wouldn’t go above that. Sugar gives the extract more body and mellows the flavor.
Check out Wikipedia to learn more about the various kinds of vanilla beans available. I use the organic ones from my food coop, but different kinds can be ordered online or found at specialty food stores.
A number of cooking blogs have instructions on making extracts or tinctures of other spices. There is no reason not to create combination flavors.
Can you make vanilla extract with rum?
Vodka has the most neutral flavor, but you can also use bourbon, brandy, or rum to create unique extracts. There’s no need to use a top-shelf or high-proof alcohol when making vanilla extract. An inexpensive 40% (80 proof) alcohol will work just fine.
Can I use rum extract instead of vanilla extract?
When in a pinch to substitute for vanilla extract, a brown liquor like bourbon or dark rum can do the trick, according to Food 52. But make sure to replace the extracts with one to two times that amount in alcohol. For example, if the recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of extract, swap it with 1 to 2 teaspoons of liquor.
What is the best alcohol for homemade vanilla extract?
What Kind of Alcohol is Best for Making Vanilla Extract? You can use any alcohol as long as it is 80 proof. The best and most popular choices are vodka, bourbon, brandy, or rum. Vodka is the most versatile because it has a neutral flavor.
How do you make homemade rum extract?
Split five vanilla beans lengthwise down the center to expose the seeds, keeping the ends of the beans intact. Place beans in a pint of high-quality vodka, rum or brandy. Store in a cool, dark place such as a cupboard or closet for at least four weeks. Shake the bottle several times a week.
What is the best vodka for making vanilla?
If you’ve had these vodkas, then you’ll understand why they are so popular. They are delicious and mix with just about everything, including vanilla beans. I made my vanilla with Tito’s, which is a vodka that is distilled six times to give it a clean flavor all the way through.
What kind of rum do you use to make vanilla extract?
Vanilla extract is made easily with only Kraken rum, vanilla beans, and some time. Making this extract is cost effective and down right delicious!
- Open the bottle of rum.
- Place the lid back on the bottle of rum.
- When ready to use, just measure right out of the bottle!
What to use if you have no vanilla?
- Maple Syrup. My go-to substitute for vanilla extract is maple syrup.
- Almond Extract. Almond extract is significantly more potent than vanilla, but it will provide a similar flavor profile if you use it sparingly.
- Bourbon, Brandy or Rum.
- Other Spices.
- Instant Coffee or Espresso Powder.
- Citrus Zest.
How do you make homemade vanilla?
- Open the vanilla beans. Use a paring knife to carefully split each vanilla bean down the middle lengthwise, cutting halfway through the bean so that the seeds are exposed.
- Combine ingredients in a jar. Place the vanilla beans in a glass jar or small bottle.
- Use and enjoy.
Does vanilla extract go bad?
When stored properly, vanilla extract will keep indefinitely, but using it within five years will allow for best flavor and aroma. Do not refrigerate or freeze, even after opening. What is the shelf life of my vanilla beans? When stored properly, two years.
Is it cheaper to make your own vanilla?
Not only is it cheaper, but the flavor is worlds apart from your average extract. Making your own vanilla extract is one of the easiest things you can do, and it can save you loads of money verses the stuff sold in stores. All you need are vanilla beans, vodka (or other liquor), and a little bit of know-how…
What kind of alcohol is in pure vanilla extract?
By FDA standards, pure vanilla extract contains a minimum of 35 percent alcohol, the same proof as Captain Morgan rum. You can’t buy it in liquor stores, but it’s sold in grocery stores and for many, it is a household staple.
How do you make vanilla extract without vanilla beans and alcohol?
To make the extract, begin by mixing together three parts glycerin and one part water, then pour it into a glass bottle. Cut three vanilla beans open lengthwise for every cup of glycerin you use. Add the beans to the glycerin, making sure they’re completely submerged.
What is a good substitute for rum in baking?
- Per 2 tablespoons of rum – 2 tablespoons of white grape juice, pineapple juice, or apple juice.
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of almond or vanilla extract.
Is alcohol in vanilla extract harmful?
Ingestion of vanilla extract is treated similarly to alcohol intoxication and can cause alcohol poisoning. The ethanol will cause central nervous system depression, which may lead to breathing difficulties. Intoxication can cause pupil dilation, flushed skin, digestion issues, and hypothermia.
Can I substitute rum extract for rum in a recipe?
You can use Rum Extract in any recipe that calls for dark or light rum. Want to substitute Rum Extract for (yo-ho-ho) rum? You can convert the recipe: for every two Tbsp of dark rum in a recipe, use one Tbsp of Rum Extract. For every five Tbsp of light rum, substitute one Tbsp of Rum Extract.
Most premium grade, pure vanilla extract producers use inexpensive sugar & corn alcohol (moonshine) to extract vanilla from their beans. Using a premium bean is step one. But unless you have extracted the vanilla essential oils from the bean using a premium aged and distilled spirit, then you aren’t experiencing the full taste profile of the vanilla bean.
Vanilla beans have over 300 flavor compounds and in a consumer’s short-sighted rush to “just get vanilla extract”, she/he misses the true flavor experience that a pure vanilla extract can offer. So, we have taken our time and, through trial and error, we have found the perfect spirits to extract the vanilla from our premium vanilla beans. See for yourself by comparing any of our vanilla extracts in rum, vodka or bourbon.
Minimizing the importance of premium spirits when extracting vanilla is usually a cost strategy. That’s why inexpensive “moonshine” is most frequently used. But, for those of you who drink on occasion, you know first-hand the difference between good and bad spirits. Cheap spirits produce lower-quality vanilla extract. Period. So let’s not cut corners and, instead, let’s create vanilla that has been extracted with distilled, aged spirits. (See our review of specific spirits that we have tried here.)
First of all, vodka is the most common distilled spirit for use with mixed drinks and cocktails. Why? Primarily because a good, distilled vodka is tasteless and odorless, allowing the other flavors within the drink to become the focus.
Vodka comes from fermenting and distilling grain. This could be rye, wheat, corn or various other grains. The quality of the vodka is directly linked to the quality of the grain and the number of times that the vodka has been distilled. The more that the vodka has been distilled, the smoother and the cleaner it is. In vanilla extract, smooth and clean equate to stronger tones of vanilla.
What does distillation mean? It’s the process of heating the beverage to remove the impurities and diluting components, such as water. Thus, leaving you with a more pure spirit. A spirit (for those who may wonder) is a distilled alcoholic beverage with 30%+ alcohol and no added sugar. A liquor contains 30%+ alcohol but also contains added sugars and flavorings. A beer or wine are fermented, not distilled, and contain less than 20% alcohol.
After distillation, premium vodkas are filtered and, immediately, are ready to drink. A vodka requires no aging, but aging does enhance its smoothness. Most vodka is 80 proof, or 40% alcohol. The FDA requires a minimum 70 proof, or 35% alcohol on vanilla extracts. This makes vodka a perfect medium for vanilla extraction.
Finally, water is added to a premium vodka after distillation. Using clean, pure, mountain-spring water is paramount to the final product.
What is rum? The quick answer: anything distilled from sugarcane or sugarcane byproducts, such as molasses or cane juice. Because of such a broad definition, anything distilled with anything sugar is, theoretically, a rum. But buyer beware. especially when traveling through the Caribbean or other tropical destinations. A rum by the same name, isn’t always a rum and labels aren’t always honest.
White rum is our personal favorite. As with Vodka, it is at least 5X distilled and charcoal filtered. It is smooth and pure, and extracts the highest level of sweetness out of each vanilla bean. In fact, given the typical uses of vanilla extract, using a sugar based distilled rum with a vanilla bean is often the perfect marriage. For desserts, ice creams and toppings, a rum-based vanilla greatly enhances the sweetness.
Gold/dark and spiced rum are the two other varieties of rum that may occasionally be used by VanillaPura. These darker rums have heavy, sweet tones that are great for caramel apples and other deep, rich dishes. but somewhat limiting outside of the fall/winter holiday season.
As the old saying goes, “All bourbon is whiskey, but not all whiskey is bourbon.”
Whiskey is made all around the world. There are famous styles, such as American whiskey, Scotch whisky and Irish whiskey. Whiskey can be great for vanilla extract, but we generally stick with bourbon, and here’s why.
Bourbon is simply the most popular form of American whiskey. It also has its own defining characteristics or rules. They are as follows:
- Bourbon must be made in America
- Bourbon must be 51% corn
- Bourbon must be stored in new, charred-oak barrels
- Bourbon must be distilled to no more than 160 proof, and entered into the barrel at 125 proof.
- Bourbon must be bottled at no less than 80 proof.
- Bourbon must not contain any added flavoring, coloring or additives.
Why are these regulations so strict? Because in the 1800’s, distillers spent a lot of effort adulterating, tampering with and diluting their whiskeys. The 1897 Bottle in Bond Act clarified proper bourbon producing techniques. According to the act, “It (bourbon) must be bottled and stored in bonded warehouses under the U.S. government supervision for no less than 4 years.” In short, the act made the U.S. government the guarantor of bourbon authentication.
Given the need for alcohol to extract vanilla, many vanilla extract producers are diluting, adulterating and tampering with their alcohol bases today, as American whiskey producers were doing in the 1800’s.
Now, whiskey production and quality have improved significantly over the years, and there are great whiskey’s on the market. Still, we prefer bourbon because of its consistent taste and guaranteed sweetness derived from the 51% corn content. We like adhering to the same high standards with our vanilla extract that American bourbon producers do.
Bourbon is clean like vodka, but has a slightly sweeter and a smokey/oak profile, though certainly not as sweet as rum. It will bring out the sweetness of the vanilla without overpowering the vanilla aroma. It also helps to pull back some of the licorice tones of a Tahitian or Tongan vanilla bean. It really enhances some of the darker/smokier vanilla beans like Indonesian and Mexican.
So, which spirit is right for you? The answer largely depends on the level of sweetness you are looking for. In concise terms:
- Vodka is Flavorless = Pure vanilla bean taste.
- Bourbon is Slightly Sweet and Smokey = Enhanced vanilla taste with smokey/sweet notes.
- Rum is Very Sweet = Maximum vanilla taste, aroma and sweetness.
Here’s a summary of spirits that are best for the many different types of beans:
Did you ever think vanilla extract could offer so much to your culinary experience? Whenever you are making desserts that call for a vodka, bourbon or rum, add a teaspoon or two of pure extract with the same spirit to enhance the taste even more!
Visit our comprehensive extract-making guide center for more essential extract making tips and ongoing education.
Liquor.com / Tim Nusog
Simple syrup is one of the primary sweeteners used in cocktails, and fortunately, it’s also one of the easiest ingredients to make. It is a mixture of granulated sugar and water, boiled until incorporated into a silky smooth syrup. But beyond those two ingredients, the variations are endless. You can play with the ratios to create a rich simple syrup, which is two parts sugar to one part water, or you can doctor your syrup with fruits, herbs and spices to achieve a new flavor profile.
One of the more versatile examples is vanilla simple syrup, which can be used to add the sweet, heady flavor of vanilla to a variety of cocktails. And it’s no more difficult to make than regular simple syrup, as the only extra step is to add vanilla extract to the water and sugar mixture.
However, there’s more than one way to achieve that vanilla flavor. Instead of using extract, you could infuse your simple syrup with a vanilla bean pod. In that case, cut the pot in half lengthwise, add it to the hot liquid, and let sit for several hours before using. The result is very similar to using extract, but one pod goes a long way, producing a clearer, more intense flavor.
The best part about homemade vanilla simple syrup is that it can easily be adapted to any size you require. If you’re making syrup for a party, or want to keep a large stash on hand, scale up the ingredients while keeping the proportions the same. Just multiply each component by the number of servings you want to make.
Or maybe the best part about simple syrup is that, once boiled, cooled and sealed, it can live a healthy, productive life for up to a month in the fridge. (Okay, so there are two best parts). Once you make a batch, you’ll always have some ready to dose your favorite drinks.
Although few classic recipes call for vanilla simple syrup, it can be used to modify classics or add rich sweetness to original drinks. The Old Fashioned is a prime example of a drink in which vanilla simple syrup can truly shine. It adds flavor and body to the cocktail, while complementing the vanilla, caramel and baking spice barrel notes that are already present in the whiskey.