Infused or flavoured spirits have become as important to cocktail culture as martini glasses and lemon twists. One of the most prominent flavoured liquors is vanilla-infused vodka, which has become popular because it is tasty and mixes well with a host of other ingredients. Vodka also is one of the easiest liquors to use as a medium and vanilla is one of the simplest flavours to infuse. With the right equipment and proper amount of time, you can make world-class vanilla vodka at home.
Place a vanilla bean on the cutting board. Gently cut in half lengthwise with paring knife, exposing as much of the interior as possible. Repeat with second vanilla bean.
Open the bottle of vodka. Place the beans inside. Allow at least 1/4-inch space at the top of the bottle neck. If needed, pour some of the vodka out. Replace the top and shake gently for the bean halves to spread out. Place the bottle in a cool, dark storage area.
Open the bottle once daily. The interaction between the beans and vodka will create slightly increased pressure, which must be alleviated, especially if the bottle is full. Infuse for 10 days.
Line the funnel with the filter. Place the funnel into the empty bottle. Gently and slowly pour the infused vodka through the filter, cleaning it of floating residue and beans.
Store in a dark, cool place or refrigerator for later use.
The infusion is noticeable after three days. If you don't mind the beans, skip Step 4. Keep the beans in the vodka to strengthen flavour.
Don't use the most expensive vodka. A medium-grade vodka will produce equivalent results and taste.