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10 Best Vodka Brands for Vanilla Extract (2023 Updated)

Last Updated on December 28, 2022 by Lydia Martin

If you want a straightforward way to make vanilla extract at home, try vodka aside from the usual bourbon or rum. But what is the best vodka for vanilla extract? 

Look no further; we’ve listed our recommended vodka expressions to prepare your vanilla essence at home. 

Top 10 Vodkas For Vanilla Extract 

10. Deep Eddy Vodka 

Bottle of Deep Eddy Vodka

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

Alcohol Content: 40% ABV 

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. 

This 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.  

9. Grey Goose Vodka

Pouring Grey Goose Vodka on a Jigger

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

Alcohol Content: 40% ABV 

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. 

8. Chopin Potato Vodka

Bottle of Chopin Potato Vodka

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

Alcohol Content: 40% ABV 

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 not only fitting for drinking but also for making vanilla extract as well.

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 

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 special characteristics to a new level. 

This vodka is made with less water and is infused with charcoal for a fresh and complex spice.

6. Tito’s Vodka

making a coktail drink using Tito's Vodka

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

Alcohol Content:  40% ABV 

Why We Like It: Distilled six times and crafted from sweet corn, Tito’s Vodka delivers a smooth, unique vanilla flavor that makes a good choice for making 100% vanilla extract.

“Vodka is much easier on your system than dark whiskey and stuff.”

— Vinnie Paul, American Musician  

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

5. Absolut 100

Bottle of Absolut 100 Vodka

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

Alcohol Content: 50% ABV 

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

This vanilla-flavored vodka is great to infuse with vanilla beans. 

It is concentrated, adding the essence of vanilla beans to create a unique flavor profile, which is ideal if you want to make homemade vanilla extract, in addition to its high-proof content.  

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 

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.

Besides, this unflavored vodka can be utilized to make homemade vanilla extract due to its high proof and neutral profile.  

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

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

This is a smooth and classically-styled vodka [1] that has a crystal clear color. 

This vodka has mineral and fruit peel notes but doesn’t contain artificial flavors.

It combines perfectly with vanilla beans to make vanilla essence, apart from the usual bourbon brandy or rum.   

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 

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

This is a great choice if you’re looking for the best flavor to add to vanilla beans and make vanilla extract. 

Since you’ll need to mix vanilla beans and vodka to make your own pure vanilla extract, the flavor of Potocki vodka intertwines well with the vanilla beans– more pleasant than using bourbon, brandy, or rum. 

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 

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

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

If you want the real flavors of vanilla beans and vodka in one, you can rely on the tasting notes of Smirnoff Blue.

It’s a top-shelf vodka, so it’s undoubtedly the best choice. 

FAQs 

Can I use cheap vodka for vanilla extract?

Yes, you can use cheap vodka for making vanilla extract. But make sure 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, and dark rum [2] with the same proof to add to vanilla beans. 

Final Thoughts 

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

But we suggest avoiding flavored vodkas 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 

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