Food - Drink
Why You Should Think Twice Before Throwing Out Leftover Vanilla Extract
Vanilla is a difficult plant to cultivate, requiring a very specific tropical climate and tons of hands-on maintenance, so it’s no wonder why quality vanilla extract can run you $3 an ounce or more. Throwing out the last few drops in an expensive bottle of vanilla can sting, but it turns out that even the smallest amount can still be put to use.
Only a small amount of vanilla extract — even smaller than the amount called for in some desserts — is needed to lend a noticeable flavor to liquors and spirits. All you need to do is pour a bit of alcohol into your bottle of extract and shake it up to blend the vanilla with the drink, putting those last few drops you can't squeeze out to use.
Vanilla is a natural pairing with darker spirits like bourbon and rum, but the popularity of vanilla vodka proves it can be used in all sorts of drinks. If you think of your vanilla as a compliment to your cocktail instead of a key flavor, you open up possibilities for amounts of leftover extract that might otherwise seem paltry.