Extracts have become very expensive. You may not know how economical it is to make your own. It is also very easy. The most important thing to remember is to start with good quality ingredients, beginning with the vodka. Select a smooth, unflavored vodka. We like Ketel One, but there are many on the market that can fit the bill.

The basic process is the same for all extracts - so have some fun and try your own concoctions. Once the extracts are complete, try making your own blends. Almond/orange is a particular favorite of mine.

These little bottles of nectar make great gifts and can spice up desserts, meats and beverages!

3 good quality vanilla beans (split down the center), 3/4 cup vodka. Place the vanilla beans in a 4 oz. mason jar. Pour the vodka over the beans until they are completely covered. Close and infuse for approximately 8 weeks. Store in a cool, dark place.
1 cup hazelnuts (toasted, skins removed), 1 split vanilla bean, 3/4 cup vodka. Add hazelnuts to a jar, add vodka, vanilla seeds and vanilla bean. Close and infuse for 3 to 4 weeks. Strain hazelnuts from extract. Sweeten the remaining hazelnuts with a dash of simple syrup if needed.
Repeat process above for hazelnut extract substituting freshly ground toasted almonds instead. Steep mixture for 3 to 4 weeks, shaking the jar lightly once a day to stir up the almonds.
Remove the rind of one medium lemon and remove ALL of the white pith. Chop up the remaining rind and pour it into a jar with 1/4 cup water and 1/2 cup vodka. Place in a cool dry place for one week. Strain out the lemon peel before using.

tip: this recipe is great for any citrus fruit. Try orange, lime or even kumquat.

Clean and dry fresh peppermint leaves. Finely chop 1/4 cup of dried peppermint leaves and place in a jar. Add 1/2 cup vodka and 1/2 cup filtered water. Shake the jar lightly once a day for about three weeks. Prior to using strained out the chopped leaves.
Wash and hull 1 pound of strawberries and slice thin. Place in a pan over medium heat and bring to a boil with 1 cup water and 1/2 cup sugar. Simmer for 30 minutes. Strain out the berries with cheesecloth. Return liquid to the pan and simmer until the berry water has reduced to a syrup. Allow to cool.