We've had glorious weather this week, from a lush snowstorm that swept over the city, creating an air of frivolity and lightness (let's just say there was more than one pool going to see if we would get a snow day--we didn't, but the blissful fat flakes seemed to cool the minds of everyone burning too hot at the end of the semester), to the gentle windy days that tickled fiery autumn leaves from their branches. It has been nothing short of mystic!
This cold weather has made me want to curl up by the fire and enjoy the hush that seems to settle over the earth when autumn transitions to winter--something we too seldom indulge in as we get swept up in the flurry of the work week and the upcoming holiday season. It goes without saying that a book and a delicious beverage would make fireside snuggling nothing short of epic. Tea works well here (you know how much I love those cups akin to a warm hug for the soul), but if you are looking for something a little more festive, look no further than this vanilla bourbon.
It is super easy to make and tastes of the season, full of the lush caramel and vanilla flavors we crave in our holiday desserts. You can make a sinfully vanilla old fashioned or give my cinnamon-apple cocktail an extra dash of yum with this vanilla bourbon. Of course, it is equally delicious on its own.
As with all my recipes, the trick is getting good quality ingredients. I used Maker's Mark bourbon (nice, but not so nice that you wouldn't want to infuse it with anything) and organic vanilla beans which I got here. Make sure the vanilla bean is soft and plump. A brittle bean is a sign that it has gone stale and the flavor won't be as strong. The rest is easy: simply forget about the bourbon for a week while it soaks up all the lovely vanilla flavor. My advice? Mix up a double batch so you have some for yourself and another for a friend. This bourbon is so good, you'll want to gift it to friends and family this holiday season.
2 cups bourbon
1 vanilla bean
Slice vanilla bean almost completely in half lengthwise. This ensures that the bourbon can soak up the flavor from the little seeds on the bean's inside and makes it easier to remove the vanilla from the bourbon once it has done soaking (as opposed to slicing it completely in half). Place in mason jar and pour bourbon over it. Seal jar and let sit for a week, making sure to shake jar periodically. Then strain the bourbon by pouring it through cheesecloth draped funnel into a clean bottle. Store in a cool, dry place. Lasts indefinitely (though I doubt you will be able to keep it around that long!). Makes two cups.
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