Vanilla Scented Orange-Lemon Bourbon Sour and some notes on Vanilla
1/2 c Fresh Orange Juice (I used Navel oranges from my mom’s tree, but Valencias yield great juice)
1/4 c American Prairie Bourbon
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice (I used half Eureka lemon, half Meyer lemon)
Vanilla Sugar for rimming the glass*
1-2 drops real vanilla extract*
Orange or lemon slice for garnish
Use a lemon or orange wedge to moisten the rim of your chosen glass. Rim the edge of your glass in vanilla sugar. If you don’t have that, you can use demerara or turbinado sugar or make your own quick vanilla sugar by combining some vanilla powder with sugar. Nielsen-Massey makes a decent vanilla powder. Combine orange and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker with ice. Add bourbon. Shake until well combined.
Pour over ice, garnish with lemon or orange slice, serve, enjoy, repeat if you’re getting crunk.
If you bake or cook with vanilla beans. Never toss those pods after you’ve scraped them. They are fabulous for making extremely simple, but artisanal and impressive infusions at home that will wow people and also make great gifts.
All you really need are mason jars or some kind of sealable glass containers. Jars are perfect for this though and they are inexpensive. I see that many stores now sell them individually, so if you don’t do any canning, no need to buy a whole case.
For vanilla sugar.
All you need to do is take the desired amount of sugar—say you start with one cup— Simply place the sugar in a mason jar and each time you have an empty vanilla bean pod, throw it in your jar of sugar and give it a good shake. Leave it to infuse and shake it up every now and then. For stronger flavor, you can add more pods as you use them, you cannot overdose on empty pods. Used all of the sugar? Still hold on to those pods in your jar and simply refill with more sugar. The pods have lots of life in them and can infuse several batches of sugar before they are ready to be replaced.
This exact same method works beautifully for salt. Vanilla infused salt?!?! YES! It adds a delicate complexity and vanilla flavor to salt, which is going to take your homemade baked goods to that extra level. And don’t be afraid to use vanilla in savory applications too. Vanilla salt can lend itself rather well to most things you would add garam masala to. It gives homemade vinaigrettes and marinades a little boost as well, the possibilities are vast. Just make sure you’re cooking something that vanilla jives well with and that you don’t use to much because vanilla can become overpowering if overused. Always start small and add more to your taste. If you’re not sure what savory dish to pair with vanilla, I recommend consulting The Flavor Bible, which is an awesome resource if you need help or have questions about flavor combinations.
To make your own vanilla extract, use 1 cup bourbon, rum or vodka and add one split, un-scraped vanilla bean. Using a pod with the beans still intact will give you a better extract. However, you can also do this with scraped beans. You’ll just need more. If you don’t want to measure, don’t! To make this super simple, do what I do and throw your pods directly into your bottle of alcohol. It does take a long time though—give it at least nine full months. I love bourbon based vanilla extract best, but vodka and rum both make delicious extracts. You use this extract exactly how you would use store bought. It also makes great gifts to bakers. Out of alcohol? No worries, just refill with the same stuff. If your vodka-based extract runs dry, simply refill with more vodka. You can keep adding beans as well!
With homemade infusions and extracts, you know exactly what is going in to what you’re consuming. So, if you happen to have a yummy, bourbon-based homemade vanilla, throw a drop or two into a cocktail like the one above for that extra little something special.
And don’t hesitate to make and gift these things to the cook, baker or vanilla lover in your life!