When you think of using vanilla, your mind probably goes to baking cakes, pies, and cookies, but you can also use it in cocktails! Incorporating vanilla extract into drinks gives them a depth of flavor without the extra sweetness of certain cocktail mixes or other ingredients. It can also add an extra layer of complexity to your favorite drink. Discover how to elevate six classic cocktails with the addition of vanilla extract.
Blood Orange Vanilla Martini: The warmth of vanilla plays perfectly with the bright citrus of blood orange in this martini. In a shaker with ice, combine two ounces of your favorite vodka with one ounce of triple sec for an added boost of orange. Then, add one ounce of simple syrup, two ounces of freshly squeezed juice from a blood orange, and 1/4 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract. Shake and serve in a sugar-rimmed martini glass garnished with a wedge of blood orange.
Vanilla Old Fashioned: Bourbon-based drinks are the ideal cocktails to mix vanilla extract into. For a new twist on an old classic, muddle 1/4 teaspoon of gourmet Madagascar vanilla beans with as much orange bitters as you like and a splash of water. Add in two ounces of bourbon, garnish with a cherry, and serve.
Vanilla Rum White Russian: If you’re a white Russian fan, try this delicious take on the classic! Combine one and a half ounces of Kahlua with one ounce of your favorite rum. Add in 1/2 a teaspoon of vanilla extract and two and a half ounces of heavy cream, then shake. Top with a sprinkle of cinnamon and serve in a whiskey tumbler.
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Vanilla Paloma: Palomas are perfect for summertime — adding vanilla can be your secret ingredient this year. In a shaker with ice, combine half a cup of freshly squeezed grapefruit juice with 1/2 a teaspoon of vanilla extract, one tablespoon of fresh lime juice, one teaspoon of sugar, and one ounce of tequila. Shake, then pour into the glass of your choosing and top with a splash of club soda.
Cherry Vanilla Bourbon: We weren’t kidding when we said vanilla plays best with bourbon. In a cocktail glass, add a dash of classic bitters. Then, muddle fresh dark red cherries with 1/2 an ounce of simple syrup with 1/2 a teaspoon of vanilla in the glass. Add three ounces of bourbon, one ounce of sweet vermouth, and ice to finish.
Vanilla Chai Rum Toddy: A rum toddy is another classic cocktail that gets an added depth of flavor from the vanilla extract. They are the perfect cocktail to enjoy around a bonfire and make for an ideal nightcap. First, make your chai tea according to the package directions. Add in one vanilla bean pod and a cinnamon stick to bring out all of those delicious flavors. Once the tea has steeped, remove the bags and add a dash of brown sugar and one and a half tablespoons of honey. Allow that to dissolve, then add one cup of milk and half a cup of dark rum. Divide that mixture into glasses (this recipe serves six), then top with cream. Serve with a star anise garnish for added pizzazz!