I cleaned out my spice drawer the other day and found a few vanilla beans hidden in the back. Score! This was an exciting find as I had just browsed a Donna Hay, (love her!), book of mine and saw a simple way of infusing vanilla bean into vodka. There are artificially flavoured vodkas out there, but I am somewhat of a purist and don't love the idea of fake flavouring, in any form. The recipe I have called for a whole bottle (750 mL) of vodka and 3 vanilla beans. I wasn't sure I was ready to sacrifice a whole bottle to this experiment, so I cut in into a third to see if this was something I might like. Well, one week in the sun, plus an overnight stay in the freezer, and this newly flavoured spirit is a welcomed addition to our liquor cabinet. Serve over ice, or if you can't handle that, (like I can't), it is especially delicious with ginger ale, sort of a grown up vanilla cream soda.
From Entertaining, by Donna Hay, 1998.
750 ml (24 fluid ounces) of vodka
3 vanilla beans, split
Place the vanilla beans in the vodka and allow to infuse on a windowsill for at least one week. To serve straight, freeze overnight, prior to serving. Serve the vanilla vodka over ice with tonic, soda, or ginger ale.
Want to get even further away from artificially flavoured stuff? Make your own ginger ale!