Liquor Laboratory

ll logo white
ll logo white

10 Best Vodka for Vanilla Extract (2024 Updated)

Best Vodka for Vanilla Extract 

If you want a straightforward way to make vanilla extract at home, the right vodka can enhance the flavor profile of your extract, bringing out the rich, aromatic notes of vanilla beans.

But what is the best vodka for vanilla extract?

We experimented on various vodkas to determine which one elevates the flavor of your vanilla extract to the next level.

Top 10 Best Vodka For Vanilla Extract 

1. Smirnoff Blue Vodka

Smirnoff Blue Vodka Bottle with Glass of Cocktail Drink on Top of a Table

Average Price: approx. $18/750ml (MSRP)

Alcohol Content: 50% ABV 

Nose: Subtle sweetness, faint grain, a hint of citrus, delicate herbs

Palate: Smooth, mild vanilla undertones, slight creaminess, gentle almond, subtle herbal notes

Star Rating: ★★★★★

Why We Like It: The best flavor of vodka to combine with vanilla beans to make vanilla extract is from the Smirnoff Blue bottle.  

It’s 100-proof alcohol and strong notes of vanilla bean extract make this expression ideal for infusing with Madagascar vanilla beans.

“Like two old friends meeting in a glass, vanilla extract and vodka bring out the best in each other” -Liquor Laboratory

Since I want the natural flavors of vanilla beans and vodka in one, I rely on the tasting notes of Smirnoff Blue. It’s a top-shelf vodka, so it’s undoubtedly the best choice. 

2. Potocki Vodka

Potocki Vodka Bottle and Cocktail Glass Drink on Top of Wooden Table

Average Price: approx. $41/750ml (MSRP)

Alcohol Content: 40% ABV 

Nose: Clean, subtle sweetness, earthy undertones, light citrus, delicate floral hints

Palate: Silky, gentle vanilla notes, creamy texture, almond accents, faint herbal touches

Star Rating: ★★★★★

Why We Like It: This Polish vodka bottle is made with rye and is very good with its full-flavored nuttiness.

It is an excellent choice if you’re looking for the best flavor to add to vanilla beans and make vanilla extract. 

Follow homemade vanilla extract recipes by mixing whole vanilla beans and vodka to make your pure vanilla extract.

The flavor of Potocki vodka intertwines nicely with the vanilla beans– more pleasant than using bourbon, brandy, or rum. You can use Mexican vanilla beans or Tahitian vanilla beans for this recipe.

3. Stolichnaya 100 Proof Vodka

3 Bottles of Stolichnaya 100 Proof Vodka on top of a wooden table

Average Price: approx. $26/750ml (MSRP)

Alcohol Content: 50% ABV

Nose: Robust, sharp, grainy, intense ethanol, subtle herbal hints

Palate: Bold, fiery vanilla notes, intense warmth, earthy undertones, slight spiciness

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

Why We Like It: Another 100-proof vodka bottle suitable for making vanilla extract is this Stolichnaya vodka.

It is a smooth and classically styled vodka [1] with a crystal clear color. 

This vodka has mineral and fruit peel notes but doesn’t contain artificial flavors. The strong vanilla flavor from Tongan vanilla bean extraction blends significantly with the vodka.

4. Svedka 100

Bottle of Svedka 100 with coktail glass drink, jigger and shaker on top of a table

Average Price: approx. $15.99/750ml (MSRP)

Alcohol Content: 50% ABV 

Nose: Intense, aromatic, grainy, slight sweetness, subtle herbal undertones

Palate: Potent, pronounced vanilla notes, fiery warmth, earthy hints, mild spice

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

Why We Like It: This smooth and easy-drinking vodka is made with the finest ingredients: winter wheat and spring water – with no artificial flavorings. 

It is distilled several times to remove impurities, making a crisp finish and a pure taste.

Instead of getting a store-bought vanilla extract, you can make your own vanilla extract using this unflavored vodka and vanilla beans.

It is essential to use unflavored vodka when making homemade vanilla extract.

5. Absolut 100

Bottle of Absolut 100 Vodka

Average Price: approx. $19/750ml (MSRP)

Alcohol Content: 50% ABV 

Nose: Intense, clean, subtle sweetness, faint grain, mild herbal nuances

Palate: Robust, rich vanilla notes, warming sensation, subtle creaminess, delicate herbal accents

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

Why We Like It: The high-quality pure vodka is achieved through the distillation of winter wheat on four-story columns.

It is the best vodka for making vanilla extract because it is a vanilla-flavored vodka.

It is concentrated, adding the essence of vanilla beans to create a unique flavor profile. Absolut 100 is ideal to make homemade vanilla extract with high-proof content.  

6. Tito’s Vodka

making a coktail drink using Tito's Vodka

Average Price: approx. $21/750ml (MSRP)

Alcohol Content:  40% ABV 

Nose: Clean, faint sweetness, subtle grain, a hint of citrus, delicate herbal undertones

Palate: Smooth, mild vanilla hints, slight creaminess, gentle almond notes, subtle herbal touches

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

Why We Like It: Distilled six times and crafted from sweet corn, Tito’s Vodka delivers a smooth, unique vanilla flavor that you can use to make homemade vanilla extract.

“Vodka is much easier on your system than dark whiskey and stuff.” — Vinnie Paul, American Musician  

This vodka brand can compete with other top-shelf vodka expressions regarding smoothness and balance of vanilla and other rich flavors. 

7. Belvedere Intense 100-Proof Vodka

Belvedere Intense 100-Proof Vodka Bottle and Glass of Cocktail Drink

Average Price: approx. $42/750ml (MSRP)

Alcohol Content: 50% ABV 

Nose: Robust, intense, grainy, sharp ethanol, subtle herbal undertones

Palate: Bold, fiery vanilla notes, strong warmth, earthy undertones, slight spiciness

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

Why We Like It: This brand of vodka is one of the best choices if you want to craft your own pure vanilla extract due to its 100-proof– maximizing the vanilla bean extraction.

Belvedere Intense is a bold and intense drink that takes the Polish rye’s particular characteristics to a new level. This vodka is made with less water and is infused with charcoal for a fresh and complex spice.

8. Chopin Potato Vodka

Bottle of Chopin Potato Vodka

Average Price: approx. $23.99/750ml (MSRP)

Alcohol Content: 40% ABV 

Nose: Clean, subtle sweetness, earthy undertones, faint citrus, delicate herbal hints

Palate: Silky, gentle vanilla notes, creamy texture, mild almond accents, subtle herbal touches

Star Rating: ★★★☆☆

Why We Like It: Each bottle of Chopin Potato vodka doesn’t contain artificial flavors and is crafted using high-quality ingredients: own-grown potato, yeast, wheat, and purified Artesian water.   

Unlike most vodkas, this vodka is only distilled once, so it retains its unique spice and character. 

The creamy vanilla note of this expression is fitting for drinking and making vanilla extract.

9. Grey Goose Vodka

Pouring Grey Goose Vodka on a Jigger

Average Price: approx. $24.99/750ml (MSRP)

Alcohol Content: 40% ABV 

Nose: Clean, subtle sweetness, delicate grain, a hint of citrus, faint herbal nuances

Palate: Smooth, mild vanilla undertones, subtle creaminess, gentle almond hints, faint herbal accents

Star Rating: ★★★☆☆

Why We Like It: This 80-proof expression, Grey Goose, is perfect for creating a vanilla extract. Its mash includes wheat and spring water from their well within Gensac-la-Paulle

This top-shelf vodka has a smooth and creamy texture.

Besides making 100% vanilla extract, its neutral profile makes it perfect for drinking straight, as it doesn’t taste or smell like alcohol. 

10. Deep Eddy Vodka 

Bottle of Deep Eddy Vodka

Average Price: approx. $14.71/750ml (MSRP)

Alcohol Content: 40% ABV 

Nose: Clean, subtle sweetness, faint grain, a hint of citrus, delicate herbal undertones

Palate: Smooth, mild vanilla hints, slight creaminess, gentle almond notes, subtle herbal touches

Star Rating: ★★★☆☆

Why We Like It: This vodka is column-distilled using natural flavors, pure Texas water, and corn, an ideal ingredient to make homemade vanilla extract. 

It is one of the smooth and neat flavored vodkas you can buy that comes in original cranberry, Ruby red, peach, lemon, and sweet tea flavors. 

But if your sole purpose is to craft vanilla extract, use the original expression and avoid flavored vodkas.  

Homemade Vanilla Extract Recipe

Prep Time: 10 mins

Total Time: 2-3 months (for extraction process)

Ingredients:

  • 5-6 high-quality vanilla beans (Madagascar or Tahitian)

  • 1 cup Smirnoff Blue Vodka

Instructions: 

Using a sharp knife, carefully split each vanilla bean half lengthwise, exposing the vanilla seeds. Next, select a clean, tightly sealed glass jar or large bottle for storing your vanilla extract.

Place the split vanilla beans into the chosen glass jar, then pour 1 cup of Smirnoff Blue Vodka. Tightly seal the jar and give it a good shake to mix the vodka and vanilla beans thoroughly.

Find a cool, dark place in your kitchen or pantry with a temperature range of 60-70°F (15-21°C). Allow the vodka and vanilla beans mixture to sit for at least 2-3 months to develop its full flavor.

Remember to gently shake the jar weekly to help evenly distribute the rich vanilla flavor throughout the vodka.

Strain the vanilla extract to remove any remaining pieces of vanilla bean. Be sure to label your homemade vanilla extract with the date it was made and store it in a cool, dark place.

Now, you have a batch of your very own homemade vanilla extract ready to enhance the flavor of your favorite baked goods and culinary creations. Enjoy the delightful aroma and taste!

Best Used For: Enhancing the flavor of baked goods and ice creams

FAQs

Can I use cheap vodka for vanilla extract?

Yes, you can use cheap vodka for making vanilla extract. But ensure that the vodka bottle is at least 80-proof or 100-proof (much better) to maximize the vanilla bean extraction.You can use vanilla-flavored vodka and enhance the flavors by adding vanilla beans.  

Does the quality of vodka matter for vanilla extract?

The quality of vodka matters when you want to make a pure vanilla essence.There’s a minimum of at least 35% alcohol content, so choose the vodka with 70- or 80-proof (minimum) to get the best results.

What vodka proof is best for vanilla extract?

The best vodka proof for vanilla extract is 100-proof to get the most out of the vanilla’s flavor when you infuse vanilla beans into the vodka.

Can you use 100-proof vodka to make vanilla?

You can use 100-proof vodka to make vanilla extract, and that’s the recommended proof.But you can also use bourbon, brandy, white rum, or dark rum [2] with the same proof to add to vanilla beans. 

What is the best vodka for making vanilla extract?

The best vodka for making vanilla extract is typically a high-proof, neutral-flavored vodka, as it allows the vanilla beans to infuse without imparting additional flavors.

Why is vodka used for making vanilla extract?

Vodka is preferred for making vanilla extract because it is flavorless and odorless, allowing the natural vanilla flavors to shine through without interference.

What proof vodka should I use for vanilla extract?

It’s recommended to use vodka with a high proof, ideally between 35% to 40% alcohol by volume (70 to 80 proof), as higher proof vodka extracts flavors more efficiently.

How long does it take to make vanilla extract with vodka?

Vanilla extract typically takes several weeks to several months to reach optimal flavor potency. The longer you let it steep, the richer and more intense the vanilla flavor will become.

Can I reuse the vodka after making vanilla extract?

Yes, you can reuse the vodka after making vanilla extract, as it will retain its alcohol content. However, the flavor may be slightly altered due to the infusion of vanilla.

Final Thoughts 

Using the right vodka allows you to make the best vanilla extract. If you’ve tried using bourbon, dark rum, or brandy before, it’s time to try making it vodka. 

Smirnoff is the best vodka for making your own homemade vanilla extract [3], as it is distilled five times and will deliver a pure and beautiful vanilla extract with pronounced flavor.

Avoid using flavored vodkas when making vanilla extract [4] since the extra spices can negate the vanilla’s flavor when you mix vanilla beans into the vodka. 

Any expression on this list is of good quality, so you won’t have to worry about the flavors of your final product and rest assured, you only get the best vanilla essences. 

References:

  1. https://www.britannica.com/topic/vodka

  2. https://food52.com/blog/21349-vanilla-extract-substitute 

  3. https://www.thespruceeats.com/vanilla-extract-and-flavoring-1809275

  4. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vanilla-extract-vs-essence#basics

Lumint ad Side Bar
Flex Ad Side Bar