My mom laughs at me every time I ask her to pick up some more vodka at the store. It's always for vanilla extract, I promise! It just sounds funny coming out of my mouth when I ask for it.
We can't buy vanilla extract here easily, and importing it is a hassle. Two Christmas' ago, I found a guide to making my own. I told my mom about it, and she was all sneaky, and wrapped up a bottle of vodka for Christmas (along with some vanilla beans), to my complete surprise. Oh, the laughs we had about that one! This sums up my reaction...
That was a completely unexpected gift! (Well done, Mom!) Really though, homemade vanilla extract is fabulous, and so simple. I've been making it ever since that Christmas!
Things you need:
1 cup vodka
5 Vanilla beans
Split the vanilla bean pods lengthwise. Put vanilla beans into a (glass) bottle with vodka. Wait at least 2 months. Shake the bottle gently a couple times during those 2 months. And...you're done! Vanilla extract!
(The bottle on the right is a "work in progress". I just started that one a week ago, which is why it's still light-colored.)
Here's another simple guide with nice pictures: click HERE.