Spiced Rum Vanilla Extract

Baking cookies has always been a guilty pleasure for me. The first recipe I ever created was a monstrous cookie adapted from three distinct recipes. Even as an adult, I have a well-practiced system that ensures perfection each and every time. However, there is one special ingredient that makes my cookies even more unique than the rest – spiced rum vanilla extract.

Let’s face it. Really good vanilla extract is extremely expensive. This is especially true because it’s a critical ingredient for a vast majority of my baking. So I started to research ways to create my own extract and discovered it’s really quite simple. A majority of the recipes found in cyberspace recommend using quality vodka as the base. The pureness of the vodka tends to allow the vanilla flavor to shine through. However, I always found the final result to be a bit flat. So I decided to experiment with other spirits to see if I could create something more robust.

Spiced rum offers caramel notes and warmth that complements the vanilla in wonderfully rich ways. It also helps to bring out the flavor of other spices in my recipes including cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. This recipe is unique enough for holiday gifts. I simply divide the finished extract into clear bottles with a few spare beans to showcase its homemade glory. Then a quick tie of raffia completes the overall look for a perfect gift for the holidays.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Spiced Rum Vanilla Extract
Recipe Type: Dessert
  • 1 (750 ml) bottle spiced rum with screw cap (Captain Morgan)
  • 8 whole vanilla beans
  • time and patience
  1. Remove ¼ cup of rum from the bottle to allow for liquid displacement. Carefully cut a slit, without piercing through, down the length of each vanilla bean.
  2. Carefully add each bean to the bottle of rum. Replace the cap and gently mix by tipping the bottle. Allow to sit in a cool dark place for 6-8 weeks. Occasionally tip the bottle to blend the flavors.
Author's Note
I use Madagascar vanilla beans because they seem to have the most flavors. Beans from the store is quite expensive. I recommend buying vanilla beans from Amazon.



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  • Thanks for sharing your recipe and knowledge. I like the idea of removing just a bit of the rum from the bottle and adding the beans to that same bottle– so easy and you don’t have to sterilize an old olive oil bottle or wine bottle 🙂 It’s funny it’s said that vodka doesn’t have any odor or flavor but it does to me and I don’t like it. Spiced rum sounds like the way to go and I’m going to try it and will update this note in a few months. I saw a tiny, tiny, bottle of vanilla (2 ounces) and it was $12 at the grocery store the other day–crazy. Thanks again!

  • Love that idea. I feel the same as you aboutthe cost of store bought pure vanilla extract and vanilla beans for that matter.