The homemade extracts I gave out as Christmas presents were some of my favorite gifts! We did have a set let over for ourselves, and there were only 2 casualties to traveling (both were cinnamon extracts). That was ok though, since we had brought 2 extra of each just in case we needed them! They were really easy to make as well, and came out to about $3 a bottle.
Vanilla beans (2 for every 4oz)
Cinnamon Sticks (3 for every 4oz)
Coconut (1/3c for every 4 oz)
As you can see, the ingredients are really simple. I’ve linked to the places that I got my supplies from to make it easy for you. For the vodka and brandy, we bought cheap stuff from our local liquor store. I’ve seen people say that it makes a difference, and other say that it doesn’t. We choose to go with the cheap stuff since we were making so many. Plus, it’s extract people, it’s not like you’ll be drinking this straight up (though you could if you really wanted to). We made 24 bottles of each and needed a total of 3 bottles vodka for the vanilla, 3 bottles brandy for the cinnamon, and 2 bottled vodka for the coconut. Earl also hand shredded the coconut, since we didn’t really know what types of preservatives might be in the pre-shredded stuff.
Step 1: Add your flavoring
Stuff your flavor in the bottle. For the vanilla, we cut the beans into quarters and dropped them right in. Some of the cinnamon sticks needed a bit of force to get them in, but none of them splintered enough to leave shards behind. Finally, we needed to use a funnel to get the coconut in. That one took the most time, the other two went pretty quickly.
Step 2: Add your alcohol
Yep. Just pour it right on top of your flavoring. Again, we used a funnel for this step. Leave a little bit of room up at the top for it to breathe.
Step 3: Patience
This is the most difficult part. Shake the bottles up a bit, put them in a corner, and leave them there. Occasionally shake them up a bit. I tried to shake them once a week, but I’m not really sure how successful I was at that. Here are the wait times for each extract.
Vodka: 8 weeks
Coconut: 4 weeks
Cinnamon: 4 weeks
Step 4: Label
You could do this any time you wanted after they were filled. I’ll show you how I made my labels next week, but you will want to label them. We had 3 boxes, one for each extract, and labeled those before we labeled the bottles themselves. The Boston round bottles do come with their own labels, so you could use those if you wanted. We also added a bit of saran wrap under the lid to help seal it up and some twine to make it pretty.
That’s it! Super simple, super cheap (in bulk), and super quick to make. The best part is that, at least with the vanilla, you can add more vodka when you are done to refresh your vanilla extract. There are also different types of vanilla beans, and you can experiment by mixing up the different types or using different alcohols. Now, go forth and make your own extracts my minions! Mwahahah..*cough* *cough* ahem. Sorry about that. Yes, go make yourself some extracts! In the meantime, I’ll see you all on Monday for this month’s Silhouette challenge!
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