Best Alcohol for Vanilla Extract
Have you decided to create your own vanilla extract? It’s a great idea, but you will want to ensure you are using quality ingredients. The two primary ingredients in any extract are the vanilla beans and the alcohol. The alcohol is responsible for extracting the complex vanilla flavor. The best options will actually enhance the natural sweet taste. I wanted to create a quick post to simply list the best alcohol for vanilla extract.
If you are looking for more detail, check out our List of the Liquor Types for Vanilla Extract. It includes a synopsis of all forms of liquor and how they extract vanilla bean flavors.
Best Vanilla Beans for Extract
Before we get started, I wanted to introduce you to our Lone Goose Bakery Vanilla Beans. They are the highest grade and sourced from Madagascar. We use them in our vanilla extract, and their potent flavor has kept people coming back for more. Before choosing the best alcohol for vanilla extract, make sure you have the best vanilla beans. Remember, Quality Beans = Quality Extract.
Best Alcohol for Vanilla Extract | Top 3 List
In the past, big brands used cheap grain alcohol in vanilla bean extracts. The market has transitioned to focus more on quality, and homemade extracts now contain liquor that pairs well with the natural sweetness of the vanilla. I created this Top 3 List of the Best Alcohol for Vanilla Extract to help you find what type of liquor/spirits to choose. Let’s get started!
CHOICE #1 | VODKA
Vodka has historically been the best alcohol for vanilla extract for several reasons. Vendors know that it is relatively cheap and has a flavor profile that isn’t overpowering. I still feel that this is a great choice for beginners or experienced bakers that want to keep the flavor profile simple. Vodka is easy to work with and has earned its place as the most popular choice.
CHOICE #2 | BRANDY
This selection might surprise people, because Brandy is a relative newcomer in terms of its use in vanilla extract. Brandy has been viewed as a dessert liquor that is usually enjoyed after meals, which makes it an obvious choice for vanilla extract. The subtle sweetness of this liquor enhances the natural sweetness of vanilla and takes it to the next level. We have relied on brandy as the selection for a majority of our inventory at this point, and it has worked really well. If you want to branch out and experiment a bit from the traditional choice of vodka, brandy is a great option.
CHOICE #3 | WHISKEY
The final stop on our list of The Best Alcohol for Vanilla Extract is whiskey/bourbon. Bourbon is a specific type of whiskey that must meet several requirements, but I include it with whiskey for our purposes. Whiskey has a more unique and powerful flavor than vodka or brandy. The barrel aging process creates rich, smokey, and wooden tones that make up the distinct taste of whiskey Some people feel that the whiskey flavor blends nicely with vanilla, and others feel that it competes and tries to overpower vanilla. This is where personal preference comes into play. If you like a more simple flavor, choose one of the previous options. If you don’t mind complex flavors and enjoy the taste of whiskey, look no further.
Purchase Middle Shelf Brands
You don’t need to purchase the most expensive bottle in the liquor store to have the best alcohol for vanilla extract. You should also avoid buying the cheapest brands. We use middle shelf liquor in our extracts, and we recommend the same for our Lone Goose Bakery Community. Stay away from brands that contain artificial flavors. The natural flavor of the vanilla is far superior and shouldn’t be contaminated.
Make sure you choose the correct bottle by learning the proper Vanilla Extract Alcohol Content.
Best Alcohol for Vanilla Extract | Conclusion
Hopefully this Top List of the Best Alcohol for Vanilla Extract has helped you discover a few options. All three types included above can be used to make a delicious extract. If you are still having trouble deciding, you can always experiment and create multiple types. Choose something that fits your personal preference and will help add this unique flavor profile to your next recipe.
The Gift of Flavor
Now that you’ve selected the alcohol to use in vanilla extract, you are ready to create it! We have created our vanilla extract kit that includes everything you need to make an awesome extract (except the liquor). It works perfectly for personal use or as a gift for a loved one that bakes. It is a blast putting everything together to make the extract, and you will appreciate it every time you use it in a recipe.
Do you agree with this Top 3 List? Is there a specific type or brand that you enjoy in your vanilla extract? Share it with our Community by posting a comment below. Your feedback and ideas are appreciated and keep us going!
When are you launching the whiskey version? I’m tempted to try it.
Hey Ralph – thanks for posting a comment. We’ve actually had several questions about the new whiskey version. It technically contains Kentucky Bourbon, and it gives it a wonderful barrel-aged flavor. We had to wait for the bottles to age, and they are finally ready. I’ll shoot you an email too, but the link is below:
Our New Kentucky Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Extract – 100% Natural
It’s funny, when I grew up there was only 1 type of vanilla in the grocery store, now it seems like there is more variety in everything. It’s a good thing but can be overwhelming at times. I like the tradition of using vodka, but your extract converted me into also believing in brandy. I’m too nervous to try whiskey or bourbon, I’m not a whiskey fan.
Kacey – I know what you mean. I consider vanilla almost like apples. There used to be Red Delicious and Granny Smith, that’s it. Now there are several varieties of apples to choose from. The options and variations have been positive because it gives the consumers more choice. Attention needs to be paid to quality and consistency.
Vodka and brandy are the more traditional options, but our whiskey/bourbon extract is getting more popular and has a strong following. We’re actually getting ready to do the complete product launch for it. If you don’t like whiskey, you are right to stick with our brandy vanilla extract.