This is one of the first specialty extracts we made when our vanilla journey began years ago. Homemade extracting usually begins with basic bourbon, vodka and rum. When you get the hang of it after a year or so, you begin to branch out trying different beans and different spirits for different cooking applications.
During the holiday season a few years ago, I made homemade eggnog and realized that spiced rum would be perfect in just about everything we make during the holiday season. Pumpkin spiced cookies and bread, gingerbread, pumpkin pies (any pie!), of course eggnog, and so much more. So why not make a vanilla extract with spiced rum?!?
Typically, I don't encourage making extracts with spirits that contain artificial flavors. For example, a vanilla-flavored vodka doesn't result in double the vanilla taste if used for extract making. In fact, the taste is metallic and somewhat medicinal. Same result with fruit-flavored spirits. They just don't turn out well. However, the taste of spiced rum is the clear exception to the rule and it is absolutely wonderful for DIY vanilla extract.
The ingredients are simple:
- 8oz of spiced rum
- 1-2oz of Mexican, Madagascar or Indonesian vanilla beans.
- A glass bottle that holds at least 12oz of fluid. (A 16oz glass bottle is perfect)
- Select your vanilla beans. My preferred vanilla bean for this application is Mexican, because Mexican vanilla beans have an inherent spicy vanilla kick. They also have hints of chocolate and mocha which are perfect for holiday cooking. Madagascar beans are also a safe bet, as they are the traditional, classic and buttery vanilla that everyone is familiar with. Indonesian beans will also work, as a dark, earthy and rich vanilla bean.
- Select your rum. I'm personally partial to Original Captain Morgan Spiced rum, but any brand of spiced rum will do.
- You will need to decide if you want to slice your beans or leave them whole. Here is a list of pros and cons. I always slice mine for faster extraction and so those yummy caviar speckles come out in the extract.
- You then need to decide if you are making single fold extract with 1oz of beans or double fold extract with 2oz of beans. I typically make single fold, which is 1oz of beans for every 8oz of spirits.
- Measure 8oz of spiced rum and pour it into your bottle. If you are using a 12-16oz bottle, then the bottle will not be entirely filled.
- Add your beans to the bottle. This will raise the fluid level as the beans displace the alcohol. (This is why you always leave headspace in your bottle.)
- Make sure your beans are completely submerged. If they are uncut beans and they are not submerged, just remove them and tie them into a knot so they are shorter. If they are cut beans, then you may need to remove the large pieces and cut them further.
- Put the lid on your bottle, place the extract into a dark place and wait for a year. That's it!
- Of course, feel free to open the cap every few weeks and give it a sniff to see how it's progressing. That's part of the fun! We have used spiced rum vanilla extract with sliced beans in as little as 6 months, but it's always better after a year.
Here's a video of us making spiced rum vanilla extract in a recent virtual extract-making party:
Have fun making your extract and please share with us how it is progressing! Make sure you visit our extract-making guide center for all the tips and tricks you need to make great vanilla extract every time.