Homemade extracts are easy to make and are great for gifting. I’m sharing how to make extracts in a variety of flavors as well as how to package them for cute gifts.
Last year, I shared my first batch of homemade extracts which I made as holiday gifts. This year, I added some other flavors to my line-up and also made wax seals for the bottles.
I made vanilla, mint, lemon, lime and orange extracts. The wax seals were a fun touch though it took a few tries to get that one long drip that runs down the edge of the bottle. Luckily, if you don’t like your seal, you can break off the wax and try again.
How to Make Extracts
The extracts are easy to make. Basically, you just add whatever flavor you want to vodka and then let it sit for a few weeks so the flavor develops. So, if you want to make these for holiday gifts you will need to make them about a month in advance.
For each variation, you will need eight ounces of vodka and to it you add your flavoring. I use 16-ounce canning jars* to make my extracts. Here are the different ones I made:
- Vanilla: vodka plus 3 to 4 vanilla beans
- Lemon/Orange/Lime: vodka plus citrus peel (pick your favorite)
- Mint: vodka plus fresh mint with stems removed
Store your extracts in a cool, dark place like a cupboard or pantry. A month later they will be ready. In most cases, you will want to remove the flavoring (i.e. the vanilla pods, mint leave, citrus peels) before transferring the extract to another container. You can add fresh ones when you bottle it and I’ve included specific notes about doing this in the recipe card.
How to Make Wax Seals for Bottles
For gifting, I like to divide the extracts into 2-ounce clear bottles* and make wax seals, which look really cute. So, here are the rest of the materials you will need:
- Chalk labels* for the jars
- Filament tape* which makes it easier to make the wax seal
- Bottle seal wax beads*
You don’t need to do a wax seal but it does make the bottles look a little fancier. Adding the wax is actually pretty easy.
- First, add a little piece of filament tape to the bottle, which makes the wax seal easier to break.
- Melt down wax beads and dip your bottle caps in the seal, dipping a little extra on one side so that it will run down the side.
There are so many ways to use these extracts in baking and cooking – you can even add them to drinks for a pop of flavor. They’re great for gifting – I hope you have fun making them!
More DIY Recipes
*Some of the links contained in this post are affiliate links. Much like referral codes, this means I earn a small commission if you purchase a product I referred (at no extra charge to you).
Homemade DIY Extracts
- 3-4 vanilla beans split beans in half, lengthwise, so that the inside content is completely exposed
- 8 oz vodka
- 2 large lemons, oranges, or limes
- 8 oz vodka
- 1 cup mint stems removed
- 8 oz vodka
How to Make the Extracts
- For vanilla extract, add vanilla beans and vodka into a large sterilized canning jar. Tightly close lid, then shake a few times. Keep in a dark, cool place. Shake every few days. Let sit for about 4 weeks before using. The extract will turn a dark brown (browner than in the photos, which I poured out prematurely). Once extract is ready, you can pour into small bottles with a funnel for gifting. You can add half of a fresh vanilla bean inside each for decoration.
- For lemon extract, carefully peel off the skin of two clean lemons. Add lemon skin and vodka into a sterilized canning jar. Tightly close lid, then shake a few times. Keep in a dark, cool place. Shake every few days. Let sit for about 4 weeks before using. The peels will eventually brown. Remove peels after extract is ready. When the extract is ready, you can pour into small bottles with a funnel for gifting. You can add a few fresh lemon peels for decoration but advise your gift receivers to remove the peels once they brown. For orange or lime extract, repeat this same step except replacing lemons with oranges or limes.
- For mint extract, add leaves and vodka to a sterilized canning jar. Lightly crush leaves while in the jar, to release the oils. Seal jar and shake. Keep in a dark, cool place. Shake every few days. Let sit for about 4 weeks before using. The extract will turn a light green/brown (darker than in the photos, which I poured out prematurely). Remove mint leaves when the extract is ready. When the extract is ready, you can pour into small bottles with a funnel for gifting. You can add a few fresh mint leaves for decoration but advise your gift receiver to remove them once they brown.
- For all extracts, store in a dark, cool place.
How to make wax seals
- Wrap a layer of filament tape all the way around the bottle cap. I used a 9mm tape, which fit within the caps of the bottles I used.
- Melt wax beads down. Make sure you use equipment that will not be used for food later. I used a disposable aluminum pan which I covered in foil. I added enough wax to the pan so that it would be a deep enough to dip the entire bottle cap once melted. I then put the pan on top of a pot of simmering water. After a few minutes, the wax will start to melt and you can stir it until it is completely melted.
- Once the wax is completely melted, dip your already filled, closed and taped bottle upside down into the wax so that the wax covers the bottle cap. Lean your bottle a little to one side while still in the wax before lifting upright, to create a drip down the side of the bottle when you lift the bottle out of the wax. Let the wax cool. If you don't like how your seal turned out, you can gently break it off after it has cooled, put the wax back in and melt it and redo your seal.
The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.