1) Go to the store and ask to buy a quart of Vodka. Now wait for the store owner to explain to you that you can’t buy a quart. You can buy a little less than a quart OR you can buy way more than a quart, but not quite 2 quarts. Take his word for it. Look low on the liquor store shelf for the cheapest 70 proof Vodka you can find. Get 1.75 L. I spent $12.99.
2) Drive home. Or walk home. You, know, cut down on greenhouse gases and all that.
3) Measure out 4 cups of vodka–and tada–you now have a quart! The amount of booze you have left in the bottle is about “A Fifth!” *** What shall you do with your remaining 1/5 gallon of Quality House Vodka, do you ask? Well, I hear it’s good for dry cleaning. The man behind the counter also assured me that it would be tasty if I drank it with the Walmart brand of lemon lime soda. It’s still sitting there at the back of my pantry.
4) Slice open and scrape out the vanilla bean seeds from about 1/4 pound of vanilla beans, a messy but lovely job. Cut the pods in half so that they will submerge under your vodka. I found a good deal on beans through Amazon–$12.49 for 1/4 lb.
5) Combine your quart of vodka and vanilla beans and pods in the container of your choice. Obviously, a quart jar is not going to be big enough. If you want to keep your vanilla in your Quality House bottle, then just measure out just shy of 3 1/2 c. of vodka. What you have left is…..a quart.
6) Let sit. Shake occasionally. In about 3 weeks, I’ve heard you can start using your vanilla for your cupcakes. Just replace the alcohol, teaspoon for teaspoon. As time goes on you’ll realize that this is not an exact science. I don’t think you can mess this up. Most recipes I’ve found tell me that the vanilla extract will be excellent at about 3 months and it just gets better after that.
Money talk: I spent $25 to get 32 oz. of vanilla. That’s about .79 an ounce. If I want real vanilla extract from the store, the kind without propylene glycol, colorings and other gremlins, I will pay $8 for 2 oz. of McCormick’s.
Here is a link to a recipe from the experts.
*** Technicalities: A fifth gallon of alcohol would be 25.6 oz. It is, however, sold in metric units. Thus, a 750mL bottle is 25.36 oz. and 1.75L bottle is 59.1745 oz. If your recipe calls for a quart, or 32 oz, you can use the power of subtraction to find out that:
59.1745 oz. minus 32 oz. equals 27.1745 oz.
Now, 27.1745 oz. divided by an 8 oz. cup will give you a measure of about 3.4 cups. Hmm. That’s somewhere between 3 1/3 cups and 3 1/2 cups. You can eyeball it, right?