Monday, August 21, 2017

I love homemade gifts. They mean so much more when you receive something that a loved one put time into. I had a DIY vanilla extract recipe pinned on my Pinterest for about two years. Every year when Christmas rolled around I had every intention of making it for friends and loved ones, but it just never happened. This year I stuck to my plan! I headed to the liquor store and bought a bottle of bourbon, purchased some vanilla beans online, and bought some Amber Boston Bottles. The recipe itself is an easy one to go by. I followed the recipe that I found HERE.

Here’s what you need:

Bourbon (or any liquor of choice)

Vanilla Beans

Glass Bottle


Yup, that’s all you need to make Vanilla Extract! Here’s the low-down:


 Slit the vanilla bean down the middle. I cut mine in half so that it would fit better in my bottle. I also put 3 beans in each bottle.


Add the liquor of your choosing. I filled each bottle pretty close to the top (as you see in the picture below). I used 4 oz bottles and was able to fill the 7 bottles I had in hand with enough Bourbon to fill an additional bottle (if I had another). As I stated, I used Bourbon. From the various posts I read online; most people typically use Vodka, Brandy, Bourbon, etc. Bourbon is supposed to give a unique flavor, I decided to live on the edge and try it. It also doesn’t matter if it’s a high or low quality liquor, I cut my cost by using one of the cheapest kinds.


The longer you let it sit, the better it’s supposed to be. You should wait for about two months though before your first use. As its been “brewing” (don’t know if that’s the correct term, but you know what I mean) I can see how dark it has become. I haven’t used it yet. I plan on using it to make some Valentine’s Day cupcakes soon (be on the look-out for that). You also want to give it a good shake when you’re finished. I give it a good shake or two a few times a week. I like to shake it to Outkast’s, “Hey Ya”


Since it was for presents; I decided to make a label to add to it. I threw it together on Word. I had seen a similar one online somewhere (sorry, couldn’t find the post), which was my inspiration for it. I printed it on scrapbook paper and cut out circles from an old Christmas card with a, “DON’T — USE UNTIL” date on it.

I specifically used Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Beans, but there are different ones that are supposed to give off a different flavor. I may make this a yearly tradition, but switch it up every year with different vanilla beans and types of liquor.

Here is one of the bottles two months later. You can see how much darker it got since the first day.


This is such a cheap and easy gift that anyone will love. The total cost for each individual bottle of extract was UNDER $5!

Here’s the breakdown on cost:

Madagascar Vanilla Beans (25 in a pack)- $20 (Amazon)

Amber Boston Bottle (12-4 oz bottles) – $12 (Amazon)

Bottle of Bourbon (40 proof)- $12

Like I said, I made it for Christmas gifts, however, it’s also a great birthday gift, mother’s day, teacher appreciation, or just because!

So, who would you make some for? Drop a line below!

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Hi, I'm Stacey, the face behind Eat Make Travel. I was born and raised in Michigan, currently reside in Atlanta and I have a son who doubles as my sidekick. Eat Make Travel is a lifestyle blogs where I share recipes and food that I love, travel destinations that we like frequent and craft/DIY projects along with fun around Atlanta.

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Leslie at
I love making my own homemade vanilla extract. I love the way the vanilla beans smell, yum!
Nicole Keener at
This is so awesome. I seem to run out of vanilla extract all the time!
    TheHobbyCollector at
    You could even buy a small bottle (or large, I don't judge. lol) and put the vanilla beans straight in the bottle.
Margaux Daughtry at
Thanks for sharing! I am also a DIY girl and love making DIY gifts! I have made DIY lip balm, body butter, stove-top potpourri, melting wax potpourri, and laundry detergent. I can't wait to try this!
    TheHobbyCollector at
    I too have done Laundry detergent. My family from out-of-town had an issue not seeing it sud, lol.
Alex at
This is a wonderful gift! I've been seeing this on Pinterest, but I love that you detailed the cost! Thanks for sharing!
    TheHobbyCollector at
    Everyone who received it loved it!
Brenda @Schooling a Monkey at
This is the easiest DIY I have ever done. Almost a year later, I'm still working on the same bottle! It's great! I just add more alcohol as I get low.
    TheHobbyCollector at
    That's what I plan on doing too!

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