How to make your own vanilla extract

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Once you’re armed with a spirit of your choice — I like vodka for its neutral canvas, but I’ve also used brandy, rum and whiskey in the past — vanilla beans and a container, it’s time to make the extract. You fill up the jar or bottle with the alcohol, add several beans corresponding to the total volume of the container (a general guideline is to use one vanilla bean per 2 to 3 ounces of a spirit). Now, you can drop the vanilla beans as they are (Ina Garten’s method), or you can do what I do, which is to slice the vanilla beans lengthwise down the middle and then plop them into the liquid. Screw on the top or seal the lid, put it away where it’s cool and dark, and that’s it!

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