Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Making Vanilla Extract and Bottling the Ginger Beer

Sunday was a pretty fun day as far as crafty-items-that-included-jars goes. I spent Saturday making DIY vanilla extract kits at work, so I was totally inspired to go home and make my own extract, as I had been given some vanilla beans earlier in the week. No excuse! Jonathan and I bought some cheap vodka (and gin! oh, that's another story) while we were out running errands, so I was super excited to get home and shake some beans around in a jar!

 What you need: a jar, cheap vodka, and vanilla beans! The recipe is basically 1oz of vanilla beans for every 8oz of vodka.

 Ummm...I think I am making enough vanilla extract for four friends and then I get whatever is leftover?

 Three ounces of vanilla beans for my ~24oz of vodka. I added an extra splash to make up for what the vanilla beans would eventually suck up.

I cut the vanilla beans into ~1" pieces and put them into the jar of vodka. Now I just shake the crap out of it every day for the next month or so. Doing this is vaguely exciting.


What IS exciting, though, is bottling (jarring) up my ginger beer! It smells gingery, it tastes gingery, it must BE gingery!

I lined up my jars. I had no clue how many jars this would use. I could have just calculated it, yes, but that's not that exciting.

I lined a funnel with cheesecloth so that the ginger beer plant couldn't ooze its way through, even though some did in each jar still. That concerned me, although it seems as though (two days later) that things are fine.

Ta da! Four and a half jars!

What I can tell you now about the ginger beer is that the jars seem like they are carbonating fine. I was really worried since I realized later that there was some SCOBY in each jar. I kept booping the top of the jars to see if they were carbonated and it seemed like it took forever, when, in actuality, it probably took less than 24 hours, but they are now all hard! I can't boop the jar! This is exciting! I also see tiny bubbles at the top of each jar, which is a good sign. All in all, I am going to give it another two days and then I think on my birthday (Thursday) I can see if they worked or not! Crossing fingers...


  1. That IS exciting! I keep meaning to try making my own kombucha but haven't gotten around to it yet. Hope the extract and the ginger beer are successes.

  2. The extract is looking pretty good right now! I'm still shaking it every day and it's definitely a thick, coffee-like brown, so hopefully it ends up tasting good. I don't know why it wouldn't, since I'm following directions, so I'm crossing my fingers. ;o)

    The ginger beer is good! I'm drinking some right now. I think next time I am going to experiment with a little more sugar and definitely more ginger, but I think it's pretty good! I'm surprised that it's fizzy. It also got more clear the longer it sat. It was pretty cloudy when I first put it in the jars. Jonathan tried some tonight and said it tasted like ginger ale and that he would drink it, so I think that is a success. ;o) I would like to get a bigger jar to put everything in, though, so I'm on the lookout for that.

  3. Flip top bottles work great for this type of brewing. All my kombucha gets so fizzy when I secondary ferment. Where did you get the ginger beer plant? Good post.